Tag: Santana

Santana, One Start at a Time

I can’t help but feel nervous every time Johan Santana takes the mound.  Even after 10 innings of 1 run baseball, in which he struck out 13 batters, my optimism still had a heavy dose of caution.  Last night, as I watched batter after batter reach base, my concern wasn’t about the score, but about Santana’s health.

Santana was in the middle of the zone and behind in the count all night.  His velocity was consistent with his previous starts – 87-90, suggesting he was physically OK.  But I couldn’t help being on pins and needles, waiting for a possible report of bad news from SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt after Johan left the game.

Drawing on his own experiences from the latter part of his career, Ron Darling speculated that Santana couldn’t get warmed up.  After the game, however, Santana said he felt loose: “When I warmed up I felt fine.”

The bad start coincided with his return to Atlanta, which is where he made his ill-fated final start of 2010 – the start that put him on the shelf for over a year with a torn anterior capsule of the left shoulder.  He said it was on his mind, even as he took the field:

“When I went to the bullpen, I pictured the whole thing,” Santana said. “And even when I walked in to the mound the first inning I pictured it. I looked at the rubber. I was like, ‘OK.’ But, again, I put it away. I just had another short outing here — again. Back to back. Hopefully the next one will be longer.”

In this quote, he says he “put it away.”  But as uncomfortable as he looked, it’s easy to think the injury was on his mind.  As Joe put it, it looked like he was throwing darts, or aiming the ball, which is something pitchers do when they aren’t loose.  If Santana wasn’t loose, was it because he just couldn’t physically warm up, as Darling suggested, or did the lingering thought of September 2, 2010 tighten him up.  Perhaps he was as tentative as I was watching him – and I was just sitting on my couch.

Santana is a positive man, and won’t make excuses for his performance, so we may never know for sure how he felt.  But I would bet he’s happy to have last night’s start in his rear view mirror.

The good news is, according to everything we hear today from the Mets and Johan, he’s not injured, and on track to make his next start in Lower Downtown Denver, if “he’s strong enough,” according to Terry Collins.

In 2012, we’ll have to take Santana start-by-start and realize that every time he emerges healthy, it’s a victory.


An Early Barometer

Who needs a pinkie, anyway?

I’m not going to say this is a big series for the Mets.

Starting tonight, our favorite team from Flushing goes to the Ted in Atlanta for a three game series.  This is not an important series. After all, it’s crazy to say a mid-April series is meaningful.  But it is a barometer – a way to get a feel for just who this Mets team is early in 2012.

They’ve started 6-3.  They’ve swept the Braves already in New York.  But now, the Braves are on a roll, having won five straight.  The Mets have played .500 ball in that time.  New York did take 2 out of 3 from the Phillies in Philadelphia, which is always a good thing.  But they faced a depleted lineup.  Was the starting pitching that good over the weekend, or was the Phillies’ lineup that bad, sans Chase Utley and Ryan Howard?

The Mets have David Wright back, and he raked all weekend against the Phils.  Yet another Met, Jason Bay, came down with jammedfingeritis, and missed Sunday’s game.  I think I can speak for all Mets fans when I say, “meh.”  Is he really that much of an improvement over Scott Hairston at this point?

Lucas Duda and Ike Davis showed improvement over the weekend, and while they are still not exactly white hot, production from the two young power hitters will be helpful against the Braves, and the rest of the league.  How will they, and the rest of the lineup fare the second time around against Tommy Hanson, Randall Delgado, and Jair Jurrjens?

It will be more interesting to see how Dillon Gee, R.A. Dickey, and Johan Santana perform against the Braves lineup, which has scored 31 runs during their winning streak.

It’s not at all like this series means anything right now.  But we’ve seen a Mets team, during the earliest of the early part of the season, that has enjoyed some tenuous success.  Facing a hot Braves team will tell us more about who the 2012 Mets are capable of becoming – a surprising come-out-of-nowhere group of world-shockers, or the dismal pile of mediocrity in blue and orange that everyone expected.

But then again, it’s early.


Blog Roundup: Big News Day

Wednesday was a big news day in the world of sports, mostly in the NFL.  But the best news for the Mets didn’t include the words “Tebow” or “Saints.”  Johan Santana breezed through the World Champion Cardinals’ opening day lineup de facto.  He struck out 6, walked none, and surrendered 1 run on 6 hits in 6 IP, all while throwing an efficient 69 pitches.  Meanwhile, with the injured Andres Torres‘s immediate future in doubt, the Mets scramble to find a center fielder.


  • NYBD looks at an unorthodox option for the Mets in CF (the man Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon referred to as “Jeremy Valdespin”).
  • Daily Stache hopes the injuries heal – time is running out.
  • Amazin’ Avenue explores the start of Johan the Man.
  • Hardball Talk has Jason Bay volunteering to play center for the Mets.  What, Hojo and Juan Samuel weren’t available?
  • Rising Apple suggests the Mets give Mike Pelfrey the ol’ Ollie Perez treatment.
  • The Bitter Bill has some good news and some bad news.  It really doesn’t matter which one goes first.

Spring Training is in full swing, and so is Mets Today – and we’re in mid-season form.


Blog Roundup: Johansanity

The big story this Spring has been the comeback of Johan Santana.  Johan missed over a year following shoulder surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule.  His recovery will be a difficult one, if history is any indication.  But so far, he’s looked sharp, and seems closer to his old self (well, his Mets old self anyway – which isn’t bad) than anyone predicted.  Meanwhile, nagging injuries begin to mount, further raising the paranoia alert level to code orange among Mets fans.

Here’s the Blogs’ take:

In other news, Mets Today underwent an MRI, but the results were negative.  So stay tuned…


Santana Debuts, Throws Two Innings

Johan Santana made his Spring debut with the Mets today after missing over a year with a torn anterior capsule injury.

Facing the Cardinals, Santana pitched 2 innings, allowing no runs on 1 hit, 1 walk, and no strikeouts.  He tossed 29 pitches, 17 of which were strikes.

He struggled with his command, especially with his cutter.  His fastball was around 87-88 MPH, touching 90 once, albeit on a pitch well out of the strikezone.  During his time with the Mets, Santana’s velocity hasn’t been much better during early Spring Training games than that, so there may be room for improvement.

His changeup remained about 10 MPH slower than his fastball.  If he can keep up that differential, he should be effective.

The most important takeaway from this game is that Johan’s shoulder appears to have made it through this test unscathed.  Now we’ll see how well he recovers from this start, and how he will be able to ramp up his pitches and innings throughout March.



Blog Roundup: First Week of “Spring”

Yes, it’s February, but MLB teams officially opened their Spring Training camps on Monday.  The time for speculation is growing short, while the moment of truth (Opening Day) fast approaches.

The Blogs are warming up:

  • MMO has an early mock draft.
  • The Bitter Bill says Jon Niese is breathing easier.
  • Adam Rubin feels the Mets need a healthy Johan Santana if they are to have any chance at all in the East.
  • Mets Fever is bearish on Zach Lutz‘s chances of making the team, especially since he’s wearing an O-Lineman’s number.
  • LoHud compares the Mets to a PBS drama.
  • Amazin’ Avenue has an old clip with some sage advice from Vin Scully.

Stay tuned to Mets Today for all your Spring Training coverage.