Jun 20

Johan Santana Gives Mets Sigh Of Relief

After he was roughed up in the two starts following his 134-pitch no-hitter, there was worry again something might be wrong with Johan Santana’s surgically-repaired left shoulder.

SANTANA: Strong again.

Six scoreless innings last night against the Orioles eased those concerns. Not entirely, because can you ever be certain about a shoulder, but there’s a good feeling about the tandem of him and R.A. Dickey.

Every game has a moment of decision for a pitcher, and Santana’s came in the fourth when the Orioles had runners on second and third with one out. Santana responded by striking out the next two hitters.

The Mets have thrown consecutive shutouts three times this season and lead the majors with eight overall.

In addition to Santana, the Mets continued to receive positive offensive news, from an expected source and a surprise.

Lucas Duda homered again and Jordany Valdespin added a two-run single while demonstrating his versatility. Last night he was in left; the night before at second.

And, maybe the biggest plus was getting three scoreless innings from what has been an erratic bullpen. Terry Collins is going back to handling Santana with kid gloves after the no-hitter, which translates into more innings from the pen.

Jun 14

Mets Should Not Appeal R.A. Dickey One-Hitter Plus Poll

There shouldn’t be do-overs like this. T.J. Upton bounced a ball slowly to third baseman David Wright last night. Because of Upton’s speed, Wright went to the barehand to speed his thrown and enhance his chances to get Upton.

DICKEY: Missed a no-hitter.

Instead, Wright couldn’t make a clean play and the ball dribbled off his hand. Clearly, a base hit, the official scorer ruled.

If would turn out to be the only hit given up in another R.A. Dickey get, and now the Mets want to appeal the decision so Dickey would have his no-hitter. I would be the Mets’ second of the month after going over 8,000 without one, and it would also be their second tainted if allowed.

Clearly, an umpire ruled Carlos Beltran’s ball was foul instead of a hit in Johan Santana’s no-hitter against the Cardinals.

Sports’ inherent beauty is its unpredictability and to leave matters to chance. If the appeal goes in favor of Dickey, when and where will it stop?

Official scorers are asked to review plays all the time and some of them are reversed. Usually, the procedure is for the scorer to interview all the parties, review the tape and then make a decision.

In this case, we have video of the bobble, but no video of where Upton was at the time. Was he bearing down on the bag or was he loafing? Wright hurrying the play indicates it would have been a close play, increasing the odds of it being ruled a hit.

This whole thing comes off as the Mets begging for a call and they should be above that.

What do you think? Was the play a hit or an error? Voice your comments here and vote in the poll.

 

 

 

Jun 09

Don’t Blame No-Hit Pitch Count For Johan Santana’s Bad Start

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.

SANTANA: Didn't have it.

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.

 

 

Jun 04

Mets Handling Johan Santana, Jason Bay The Right Way

Terry Collins has been sweating out these days following Johan Santana’s 134-pitch no-hitter. Collins pushed the envelop with Santana and he knew it at the time. Pulling a pitcher during a no-hitter is never an easy thing to do, and Collins had a multitude of variables to consider in a short period of time. It isn’t as if he had this all mapped out, because afterall, who anticipates a no-hitter?

Chris Young will be activated from the disabled list to start in place of Santana in Washington, buying the no-hit ace extra rest. A smart thing to do. Santana’s next start will be against the Yankees this weekend.

It is also smart not to rush back Bay from the DL. He’s still not 100 percent, so what is the point to rush? The Mets have played well without Bay, and if he’s not ready, his presence can only do more harm than good.

An emerging concern is Jon Niese’s irregular heart beat. He’ll have a procedure during the All-Star break, and I’m wondering why not now? I know the Mets aren’t fooling around with Niese, but anytime you hear about the heart you have to think.

But, I concede that might be too much thinking for now. The Mets just closed a memorable home stand. Now they are about to start an interesting road trip, including the Nationals and Yankees. Can’t wait to check it out.

 

 

 

May 22

Mets Lose A Tough One To The Pirates 5-4

The Mets jumped to an early 4-0 lead with their ace Johan Santana on the mound and pitching pretty good. It was supposed to be a recipe for success, but it ended up being a recipe for disaster instead.

The Mets committed three errors in the game including two by David Wright, but it was the botched fly ball in the eighth inning that led to this latest Mets defeat.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter had both entered the game as pinch-hitters in the top of the eighth and then both remained in the game with Baxter taking over in left field and Kirk in center. They nearly collided in center field chasing after a Neil Walker fly ball which bounced off Nieuwenhuis’ glove for a three-base error and allowed the Pirates to score a 5-4 victory.

Santana allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. He didn’t figure into the decision.

The Mets did all their scoring in the second inning with the big hit coming off the bat of Justin Turner who ripped a two-run single with the bases loaded.

David Wright and Ronny Cedeno each had two hits in the game. Vinny Rottino started at first base and picked up a hit before being replaced by Ike Davis who struck out in both his at-bats.

The series continues Tuesday, with R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.75 ERA) facing off against James McDonald (3-2, 2.68) at 7:05 PM.

The Mets will have to shake this bad loss off and move on.