New York Mets: The Maine Man in Flushing

Craig TurnerCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 14:  John Maine #33 of the New York Mets pitches against the San Francisco Giants during a Major League Baseball game on May14, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The New York Mets won the series opener in San Francisco last night 7-4. 

The Mets swiped a team-record seven bases minus Jose Reyes in the lineup, go figure.

David Wright provided the go-ahead RBI in the 9th capping-off a 3-3 night at the plate. 

In the mist of all that offense was the pitching of John Maine.

Maine was acquired by the Mets in early 2006 along with Jorge Julio for Kris Benson.  He made his debut that season for the Mets, going 6-5 in 15 starts posting a 2.12 ERA in 90 innings pitched. 

His coming out party was a spot-start for Orlando Hernandez in July tossing a complete game shutout against the defending NL Champs Houston Astros.

In 2007, Maine continued to grow and show signs of being a front-end of the rotation starter finishing the year in the top 10 in wins (15), strikeouts (180) and batting average against (.235), not to mention a 3.91 ERA. 

The following season, Maine was limited to 25 starts and he was placed on the DL twice and completely shut down in August.

The Mets front office signed Maine to a one-year deal in January of this year hoping that the John Maine from 2006 and 2007 would show up in 2009.

After a rough Spring and his over-thinking in April, Maine regained his old form in the month of May.  Pitching his record to above .500 at 3-2 and lowering his ERA to 4.24.  In May he's 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in 3 starts.

Opponents are batting .197 off him in May and his fastball has that "giddy-up" in it again, reaching 96 mph in some games this season.  This is showing that John Maine is finally completely healthy, physically and mentally. 

With the downfall of Oliver Perez, John Maine has stepped up and has done what the Mets brass rewarded him for in January. 

He will only benefit from the pitcher-friendly Citifield in the future.

Right now, that future looks very bright.