Last night, Johan Santana pitched a complete game, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits with 7 strikeouts and 1 walk. He made just two mistakes all night, both clutch home runs to Hunter Pence. Pence drove a 2-1 change-up deep over the short porch in left field in the 1st inning to drive in three runs and give the Astros the early lead.
From there, Santana settled in nicely. He returned to ace form by throwing six shut out innings and even hitting his third double of the year in the middle of the Mets’ 2nd inning rally.
The Mets wound up tying the game in the 7th on David Wright’s 18th HR of the season. However, in the bottom of the 8th, Hunter Pence again drove a Santana change-up into the first row of the left field bleachers for the eventual winning run.
With the loss, Santana drops to 10-7 on the season. He is tied for 9th in the NL with his 2.97 ERA. Since July 1, Santana has given up zero or one run in seven of his ten starts, but due to the Mets’ offensive woes, he only recorded a win in five of these games. In two of those starts, he exited after seven and eight innings respectively only to have closer Francisco Rodriguez blow the save.
Even in the first half, Santana experienced bad luck. On a May 28th game vs. Milwaukee, Santana and Yovani Gallardo squared off in an epic pitcher’s duel. Johan threw 8 innings allowing only 3 hits while striking out 5, certainly good enough numbers for a win. However, his team could not score which allowed Corey Hart to hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th.
While some may claim that Santana’s skills are diminishing, just take a look at the stats, and you’ll see that he is still an ace. If he played on a team that could actually score him some runs, he would have upwards of 17 wins and would be in the conversation for the NL Cy Young. For a guy who was destined for the Hall of Fame from his days in Minnesota, I wonder if he is regretting signing a 6-year extension with the Mets.
From Mets fans’ perspective, Santana has been a savior to this team, with his gutsy performances start after start. It’s a shame that the team cannot feed off his intensity and go out there and score him runs. Hopefully, this team can turn it around over the next 40 games to try to salvage what appears to be another mediocre season.
About the Author
Written by Jim Mancari
James (Jim) Mancari hails from Massapequa, NY. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with degrees in History and Kinesiology. Jim currently is pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY). He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets' fans, Jim has plenty of hope. Jim also writes for the NJ Nets on this site. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. He appreciates and respects additional opinions.