There’s a lot of reasons to like Terry Collins, and falling on the sword last night for Johan Santana’s bad outing is another one of them. Collins lamented all week of running up Santana’s pitch count.
He did it again after the Yankees shelled Santana last night, saying all those home runs was the result of rust.
“I am responsible for the way he pitched,” Collins said. “He was rusty. The command of his stuff was not as sharp as it’s been the past three or four or five starts. It was my doing tonight. … We erred on the side of caution, and it cost us the game.”
The Mets lost 9-1, so there were a lot of reasons why they lost. It was admirable of Collins to take the blame – other Mets managers failed to do so – but it wasn’t needed.
Collins attributed Santana’s rust to pushing him back two days after the lefty ace’s 134-pitch no-hitter. Collins said he did it out of caution. Remember, this was a $20-million pitcher coming off shoulder surgery. Collins was in a no-win situation last week. He either kept Santana in the game and possibly risk injury or pull him and the no-hitter is gone.
Santana said he could have gone on regular rest, but also said he was on board with Collins’ decision. Santana said last night was just one of those things and there’s no other way to think of it.
Santana had been of a sharp roll, so maybe he was due. Santana’s command was off, but his velocity was there and that’s one way to judge his shoulder was fine.
There’s no telling when a pitcher’s arm will give out. Nolan Ryan’s lasted for over 20 years, then one day something went. It happens, and it happens in a variety of ways.
Right now, Santana is pitching well for the most part and is healthy. He could remain this way for the rest of his career, or next month could run into problems. We’re after the fact now; he’s pitched since the 134-pitch game. If something happens in the future it would be impossible to pin it on the no-hitter.
Just enjoy Santana now for what he’s done, and also be grateful for a guy like Collins, who continually shows he’s the right guy for the job.