The Mets put John Maine on the 15-day DL Monday with the bone spurs and sore shoulder that have been bothering him for a while now. He might be out for the season - if he makes it back this year, I wouldn't be surprised if he pitches in relief.
So there's a couple of problems here for the Mets - not the least of which is that their rotation is weakened without Maine. I know he hasn't been great this year - but when healthy he's solid. And he showed in 2006 that he is a clutch pitcher in the post-season.
There are legitimate worries about the rest of the rotation. Oliver Perez is still way too inconsistent. He's been pitching well lately, but you never know when that will end. Pedro Martinez* isn't the Pedro Martinez of old...every time he starts it looks like he's working too hard to get out six innings with only three runs allowed. Whoever replaces Maine will be young and inexperienced - most likely right now Jon Niese - but the Mets will finagle things so they won't need that rotation spot for a week or so. Mike Pelfrey has been great - I'm actually least worried about him.
Johan Santana, though, I'm a little worried about. I know I was among those calling for him to go deeper into games. But I'm not sure he's that type of pitcher. I just worry that he's throwing too many, against his will, because he's succumbing to the media pressure of New York City. And I worry that he's going to hurt his arm, and the Mets will be left with no one come playoff time. Maybe I'm worrying too much. But Santana has never been the type to go deep into games...and this great stretch of games that he has pitched seems out of the norm for him (innings pitched-wise). As great as it has been, I hope he's doing it because he can...not because he feels he has to because of the bullpen.
Finally, this is actually the opposite of a 'cause for concern' - more of a cause for celebration. I've been meaning to write it for a while, but haven't had the right forum. So I'll just throw it out here now:
Carlos Delgado has been on fire for about two months now. And the key, it seems to me, is his willingness to go the other way. Every time he has a multiple-hit game, it seems like a couple are going to left field. Monday night he hit an opposite-field homer. I'm not saying all of his homers are going that way - but enough have that it makes you think that's the key. I wonder if it is the work of hitting coach Howard Johnson, or if he figured it out for himself. Either way, he's been the most valuable Met since early July.