In his last start on Saturday at the Marlins, Maine walked the first three batters of the game on 12 pitches. He went on to allow six runs on seven hits with five walks in five innings of work.
Prior to that, he was pitching quite well, not allowing more than three earned runs in five consecutive starts. With the Mets lack of rotation depth right now, with Oliver Perez and Jon Niese out for different reasons, Maine has to pitch solidly. Besides him, they only go two-deep with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, so Maine has to pitch like a third starter.
He'll go up against Nationals rookie right-hander Luis Atilano, whom he matched up with 10 days ago on May 10. In that game, both pitchers pitched well but Atilano got the best of Maine, not allowing a run in 5 1/3 innings.
The Mets have not only had trouble with Atilano, but with all pitchers this season. Yesterday, they got shut down for the most part by Livan Hernandez for the second time this season and have struggled against Nationals pitching all season long.
The question is, as it is for every game, how will the Mets' lineup look? Jerry Manuel has used different lineups the entire roadtrip, as not one has remained the same for consecutive games.
Last night, he didn't play David Wright and moved Ike Davis up to cleanup with Angel Pagan batting fifth. Jerry Manuel will most likely have Wright back in the lineup for tonight's game and has stated that he'd like 3-4-5 to be Wright-Davis-Bay.
It frankly doesn't make a difference right now as the lineup will continue to struggle without production out of Reyes, Wright, and Bay. Jose Reyes went 0-for-4 last night and made an out in four different ways—foul out, fly out, pop out, and line out.
The Mets are in a must-win situation right now. If they lose this game, they will go back home off a 1-7 roadtrip. Whether the Mets win or lose this game, the question must be asked. How much longer does Jerry Manuel have?
If the Mets lose two or three to the Yankees over the weekend, would the Wilpons' fire him on Monday, being they'd be in a 2-9 or worse stretch, and the Mets have an off-day in New York on Monday with the Phillies coming to town?
Who knows, but they can avoid that question with a couple of wins starting tonight.
John Maine vs. Washington (May 10)
Loss, 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 hits, 4 BB, 5 SO, 2 HR
Luis Atilano vs. New York (May 10)
Win, 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 hits, 2 BB, 5 SO
2010 season series (New York vs. Washington)
April 9: New York 8, Washington 2
April 10: Washington 4, New York 3
April 11: Washington 5, New York 2
May 10: Washington 3, New York 2
May 11: New York 8, Washington 6
May 12: Washington 6, New York 4
May 19: Washington 5, New York 3
Nationals lead series 5-2