Is it possible that Oliver Perez is not the biggest head case on the Mets' staff? Last night, John Maine pitched a fit after being pulled after only five pitches because he was topping out at 85 mph and looked like he was hurt. From Metsblog:
"I guess they didn’t see 95 mph… I mean, it was the first batter of the game, cut me some slack… Whatever, if they’re looking for 95, whatever… I’ve felt pain for two years, I'm over it. I want to go out and pitch… I feel something all of the time, we're pitchers, every pitcher does, it's not an injury… I didn't get asked for a chance, that's what I'm most upset about. They said they saw something and were taking me out. I'm a little hurt by that… I'm just so frustrated by the whole situation, you know, whatever.'
Didn't see 95? The only way anyone is seeing 95 from Maine is watching tapes from 2007.
And as for giving him a chance to right himself, Maine has apparently forgotten about his previous start, when his first TWELVE pitches were out of the strike zone, yet the Mets gave him a chance to get his act together.
Or maybe that's how Maine now sees the first inning, as a continuation of warmups. How unfair of the other team to act like the game is underway.
Earlier this year, Maine left a game early because he had pain in his non-pitching arm. Jerry Manuel muttered after the game that he had never seen anything like it.
Something is really wrong here. Maybe it's as simple as Maine hiding injuries. Last night, Dan Warthen called Maine a "habitual liar" when it came to health issues. Pretty harsh words, and even if they are true, they also call into question how Warthen is handling his crumbling staff.
But it was Omar Minaya who built this staff and Jerry Manuel who anointed Maine and Perez as starters in spring training without making them earn those spots. Not that the Mets had many other options, but better to figure out things in spring training than start scrambling around now, when Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey are the only two pitchers still in the rotation from the start of the season.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old lefthander Jason Vargas has a 3.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in eight starts for Seattle. Vargas has the distinction of being part of not one, but two of Minaya's lousy moves. First, the GM acquired him from Florida in the deal that sent Matt Lindstrom to the Marlins. Then Minaya included him in the ill-fated deal for J.J. Putz.
But who needs a 27-year-old lefty when you've got a 35-year-old knuckleballer (R.A. Dickey), a 35-year-old who has never started a game in MLB (Hisanori Takahashi) and a 32-year-old import from the Mexican League who has also never started a game in MLB (Raul Valdes)?
Maine and Perez may be head cases, but the real craziness surrounding the rotation is the responsibility of the front office.