Johan Santana takes the mound tonight looking to avoid losing his third straight start when the Mets go to Washington.
Santana (5-5, 3.55 ERA) has been uncharacteristically poor recently, going 1-3 with a 5.96 ERA in his last four starts.
“Is he frustrated? I don’t know, but he’s a competitor,’’ catcher Rod Barajas said. “He wants the ball every five days and when he doesn’t pitch as well as he thinks he should, he takes it hard. I don’t know if frustrated is the word, probably a little anger because he knows he has the stuff.’’
Prior to his recent stretch, Santana went five straight starts where he gave up four runs, and he’s made nine starts overall where he gave up two runs or less, so manager Jerry Manuel thinks the left-hander might have hit a wall in his recovery from elbow surgery in the offseason.
“These guys coming off injuries, they’re ready for the major leagues,’’ Manuel said. “But it still takes a period of time in the major leagues to get the feel back.’’