Padres 5 Mets 1
The final score falls remarkably short of telling the whole story.
In yet another rubber match gone bad, the Mets wasted a brilliant performance by Johan Santana to lose in San Diego in extra innings — via a walkoff grand slam by Adrian Gonzalez.
Johan Santana “didn’t have his best stuff” but somehow managed to shut out the Padres through 7 innings, allowing 5 hits and 5 walks, striking out 3. His command was off — way off — but it worked to his advantage against a San Diego lineup that would struggle in the Can-Am League. In other words, the awful Padres hitters made him “effectively wild”. Santana gutted his way to a 123-pitch count over those 7 IP; I bet he wished he went to 150 and finished the game.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: this “best stuff” thing is getting old. We need to adjust our expectations and come to the understanding that Johan is NOT the pitcher we thought we were getting two years ago. He can still pitch well enough to win just about every time out, but we cannot expect him to dominate.
Francisco Rodriguez was brought in for a four-out save and blew it (his third blown save of the season). That four-out save became a seven-out no-decision in which he threw 46 pitches — less than 20 hours after tossing 30 pitches in Tuesday night’s win. Some quick math tells you that’s 76 pitches within a 24-hour period — fine for a starter, OK for a long reliever, unacceptable for a closer. Yes, K-Rod (and the Mets) have an off-day on Thursday but that’s not nearly enough to recover. A prudent manager would hold K-Rod out until at least Sunday. However, Jerry Manuel is a desperate man managing for his job, so don’t be surprised to see Rodriguez in the game on Friday and/or Saturday. Then, don’t be surprised to see K-Rod on the DL and/or blowing games regularly in the second half of the season.
For those who may be confused as to why it’s OK for Santana to throw 123 pitches in one day and not OK for K-Rod to throw 76 over two, it’s all about recovery. Santana has at least 4, maybe 5 days to rest and recover. K-Rod will be back in a game, throwing with 100% effort, immediately. K-Rod, in particular, has a violent delivery that tears down the muscles in his shoulder, elbow, hips, and knees — which is why previous manager Mike Scioscia was so judicious and careful with his use of Rodriguez.
Losing pitcher Raul Valdes allowed three hits and hit David Eckstein before giving up the gopher ball to Gonzalez. I find it funny that many people are “surprised” to see Valdes failing lately. Is it really surprising to see Valdes performing like someone who belongs in the Mexican League? That IS where the Mets found the 32-year-old, after all.
Jeff Francoeur drove in the only Mets run. Let that sink in.
Jason Bay was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk. For naught.
In case you missed it, Geoff Young of Ducksnorts told us that — if Adrian Gonzalez was not an option — David Eckstein was the guy he wanted to see at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game. Lo and behold, it was Eckstein who drove in the tying run against K-Rod with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Next Mets Game
The Mets have the day off as they travel home from the Left Coast and return to Flushing for a 7:10 PM game vs. the Marlins. R.A. Dickey goes to the mound against Anibal Sanchez.