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This year, Maine doesn't have to prove himself page 2
Mets' Maine looks for encore

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Date published: 3/22/2008


"He got more innings and more experience," said Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca, who was the Mets' starting catcher the last two seasons. "When he was over in Baltimore, he was up and down, up and down. Being in a situation where you never really get your feet wet, always battling for a spot, it puts a little pressure on you. I think he finally got to settle in knowing he was going to pitch every fifth day regardless of what happened. It made his mind settled. He has always had the stuff, and he progressed from there."

Maine had an outstanding first half of the season and could legitimately claim he was snubbed from the National League all-star team. He went 10-4 with a 2.71 ERA before the all-star break.

His second half, however, was rockier. He went 5-6 with a 5.53 ERA in 15 starts, and the Mets eventually completed one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. New York led the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East standings by seven games with 18 days remaining, but Philadelphia won the division on the season's final day.

"I got away from doing some drills that I should have been doing," Maine said. "It was also a little bit of wear and tear. I've never really had the opportunity to throw every five days and get that many starts and that many innings. It was a learning process."

Maine rebounded in time for his biggest game of the season, a start against the Florida Marlins on the penultimate day of the season. With New York trailing Philadelphia by a game in the standings, he no-hit Florida for 7 innings and struck out 14 in a 13-0 victory.

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