Monday, June 23, 2008


The weekend series in Colorado was nice, there's no denying that, and overall the Mets as a team are playing a more inspired, motivated brand of baseball since the regime change some 7 days ago.

But right now, the Mets trail baseball's worst team, record-wise, 5-0 in the 5th inning with their ace on the hill.

I'm not gonna sit here and sweat the fact that they're losing to the Mariners; that is what it is, any team can lose to any other team, and will do so frequently over the course of a long season, but the issue is Johan Santana, who is looking a lot shakier than someone deserving the moniker "best pitcher in baseball" should look.

Santana, coming into tonight's game in which he and the Mets are now trailing 5-1, is 7-5, while the team is 9-6 in games he has started. That ain't dominant, and while I don't generally give much credence to a pitcher's win-loss totals, much of that being based on luck, a pitcher of his supposed caliber should be winning more games, period.

His ERA is respectable at 3.04, his WHIP not terrible, due to the low number of walks he issues, at 1.21.

On the flipside, he is allowing nearly a hit per inning, and has just given up his 14th HR of the season, a Grand Slam hit by Felix Hernandez on the first pitch he saw, which oh by the way was the first home run a Mariners pitcher has ever hit. That number of home runs surrendered is good for 9th in the NL, and all but one of the pitchers above him in that category pitch in Philly, Cincinnati, Colorado or Houston. In case that doesn't mean anything to you, those 4 cities' baseball teams play home games in ballparks only slightly larger than the bed on my pickup truck.

I understand his pattern in the past, and am hopeful that it will follow this season as well: he generally comes out of the gate sluggishly, and then goes on an absolute tear for the rest of the season, particularly midsummer. Thing is, the season is nearly, incredibly, half over, and now's about the time that that absolute tear should get going. I though that Keith (or Ron, I'm not 100% sure who said it) nailed it on the head during tonight's broadcast when he talked about the time for theatre; tonight was supposed to be the night that Johan's dominance reared its head, but not quite.

I'm not gonna call for Johan's head here. I don't think he doesn't care, and I don't care how much money he makes. I'm sure anyone would happily accept that contract.

Nor am I gonna start questioning the deal to acquire him. Anyone, anytime, anywhere, makes that deal, end of story.

But if this team has a run in them, he needs to go out and be that guy, that's all there is to it, and Saturday against the Yankees would be a hell of a time to get on a roll.

Hey, if this were fantasy baseball, the Mets would be winning, the runs being unearned.

Now let's go beat the piss out of the Starbucks Mermen the rest of this series.

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