Well, it’s deja vu for Johan.
In back-to-back starts, Santana has thrown a complete game but has taken the loss after giving up a late inning solo home run. Last week, Hunter Pence of the Astros tagged Santana for two home runs, the latter of which gave the Astros the lead in the 8th inning. Sunday afternoon, Jose Tabata of the Pirates victimized Johan with his solo shot to left in the 6th inning. The blast made the score 2-1 which wound up being the final.
What does Johan have to do for a win?
It seems as though Johan has to be perfect because the Mets just don’t score. He appeared to have good stuff all day, no-hitting the Pirates through the first four innings. He wound up only making two mistakes all day: the solo homer to Tabata and a solo homer to former Mets prospect Lastings Milledge the inning before. That is was Milledge that hit the game-tying home run further rubs salt in Mets’ fans wounds.
In his post game comments, Johan said that he goes out there each start and does his best to help his team win. He said that sometimes he has bad starts in which the team scores him runs to save him. However, only once this season has Santana earned the win in a start where he gave up four or more runs, and that was against the Indians in mid-June.
Something’s got to give for Santana, as well as the rest of the starting pitchers. Coming into this season, the starting five was surrounded by question marks while the offense was highly touted as one of the best in the league. The Mets’ offense has squandered the efforts of Santana, Dickey, and Niese to the point where they are a .500 team trying desperately to stay afloat.
I think the Mets fall into a false sense of security when Santana takes the mound. They know that Johan will give them a quality effort, so they don’t play with the same sense of urgency in scoring runs. However, Johan is human and cannot be expected to throw a complete game shutout every time out. A little run support would be nice for Johan, but for the past three seasons, we have seen anything but runs when Santana takes the hill.
Hopefully, that trend will change over his final few starts of this season and into next year. As the saying goes, “You don’t mess with the Johan.” But without runs, Santana is just as vulnerable as the next Mets’ starter.
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.