As motivation, “John Maine”:http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=7386 prepared for this season as if he didn’t have a job. It was obvious he would be third in the rotation, but Maine tried convince himself he might not make the team.
“I still wanted to go out there (to spring training) with an edge,’’ said Maine. “I didn’t want to slow down. I wanted to use that as motivation.’’
After a string of injuries to their starters last year _ Pedro Martinez, Brian Bannister and Victor Zambrano _ Maine was thrown into the Mets’ rotation and responded by going 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 15 starts and at one stretch pitched 26 consecutive scoreless innings.
When Orlando Hernandez went down prior to the NL Division Series, Maine got the ball in Game 1 and beat Los Angeles. He then beat St. Louis in Game 6 to keep the NL Championship Series alive. There’s nothing like October pressure and that’s where Maine earned his letter.
“He stepped it up in the playoffs,’’ said David Wright. “He has nerves of steel. He did a tremendous job in the postseason. After that, we knew he could pitch.’’