Tag Archives: Johan Santana

Pedro activated, Pelfrey stays

According to MLB.com, Pedro Martinez has been activated, replacing Carlos Muniz on the roster. Muniz will head back to Triple-A New Orleans, demoted for the second time this season. Claudio Vargas will shift to long relief, and Mike Pelfrey will remain the team’s fifth starter.

After watching Oliver Perez‘s performance last night, it’s clear to me that this team’s greatest weakness is the inconsistency of its starting pitching behind Johan Santana and John Maine. A [hopefully] healthy Martinez should help a lot here. Pelfrey has shown flashes, which is why the team kept him in the rotation, but he needs to step it up to keep his rotation spot.

-Jonathan Kraft

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So is this Mr. Hyde?

This year’s New York Mets have shown flashes of brilliance, but have quickly slid back into mediocrity. The Mets limped home to Shea Stadium last week having gone 2-5 on the week, including a four-game sweep by the Braves at Turner Field. But they came home and made a statement, winning important series against the Marlins and the Dodgers.

Leading the way for the Mets was good starting pitching, including a great performance by Mike Pelfrey and, of course, an awesome outing by Johan Santana. Backing those efforts on the mound were superb weeks by Mets hitters, led by David Wright. David hit .407, .515, .741 with 2 HR and 6 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.256. Jose Reyes hit .367, .457, .767 with 3 HR and 4 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.224. Luis Castillo emerged from mediocrity, hitting .348, .464, .652 with 2 HR and 4 RBI for an OPS of 1.116. And Carlos Beltran woke up, hitting .320, .438, .600 with 2 HR and 5 RBI for an OPS of 1.038.

Of course, there are still problems. Carlos Delgado is still not hitting. The starting rotation is still sketchy behind Santana and John Maine. Any reliever not named Billy Wagner, Scott Schoeneweiss, or Joe Smith terrifies me. But Ryan Church has returned to the lineup, as has the swagger of 2006. The question is, will this Mets team continue to play to its potential and win these important games, or will it go lose a series to a terrible San Francisco team and continue its slide from grace? Will Willie Randolph be redeemed by his club’s performance, or will he become a scapegoat yet again? It’s time for the Mets to step it up and prove that this last week was not a fluke, and that the 12th inning victory against the Marlins was a true turning point, not a rare glimpse of what could have been.

-Jonathan Kraft

Around the Beast

Braves 4-Mets 2

Atlanta starter Tim Hudson pitched masterfully, surrendering just 2 earned runs in 8 innings, striking out 4 and walking none on 100 pitches. Hudson got the win and is now 7-3 on the year. His only mistakes came in the second inning, when he served up home runs to Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado.

The Mets needed Johan Santana to pitch a gem, but their ace didn’t come through, allowing 3 earned runs on 12 hits in 7 innings on just 90 pitches, walking none and striking out only one. He drops to 5-3 on the season.

The damage came in the 7th, when Beltran misplayed a ball hit by Kelly Johnson, leading to RBIs by Omar Infante (who had been 0-19 against Santana), Chipper Jones, and Mark Teixiera. Willie Randolph didn’t take Santana out of the game, and the inning was only finished by a beautifully executed 1-6-3 double play.

Talk about teams headed in different directions; the hot-hitting Braves have won four in a row and are crusing while the mediocre Mets have lost 7 of 10 and are reeling.

Phillies 7-Astros 5

The Phillies scored early but almost blew it in their first game of the year at Minute Maid Park. Starter Kyle Kendrick did not pitch a great game, giving up 5 earned runs on 8 hits in just 5 innings of work on 91 pitches, walking one and striking out 2. But Astros ace Roy Oswalt was not much better, also giving up 5 earned runs on 11 hits in 6 innings of work, walking 2 and striking out 4 on 95 pitches.

Ryan Howard had a very good night, going 3-5 with a home run (his 14th) and 2 RBIs (and 2 strikeouts, as well). After the Astros had tied the game in the 6th, Pat Burrell hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 8th off of rookie Wesley Wright. Also driving in runs for the Phillies were Carlos Ruiz, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, and Chase Utley (his 33rd of the year). Chad Durbin picked up his first win of the year, and Brad Lidge notched his 12th save of the year, this one against his former team.

Driving in runs for the Astros were Berkman, Brad Ausmus, Ty Wigginton, and Geoff Blum. Wright took his second loss on the year.

Marlins 4-Diamondbacks 0

The red-hot Marlins completed their sweep of the Diamondbacks in an outstanding performance by young Andrew Miller, who shut Arizona out in 7 innings, allowing 5 hits, striking out 9 and walking just one batter on 107 pitches. Miller, who picked up his 4th win, was opposed by Dan Haren, who allowed 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 8 and walking none on 94 pitches.

Wes Helms drove in two on a pinch-hit double in the 7th to drive Haren from the game. Jorge Cantu also drove in two runs for the Marlins.

 

Buster Olney: Santana in decline

In this morning’s blog, Buster Olney says that Johan Santana is in decline since being traded to the Mets, and he gives the numbers to back the statement up. His K/9 ratio is down from 9.66 last year to 7.79. His K/BB ratio has gone from 4.52 last year to 3.87 (it was 5.21 two years ago). And his opponent OPS is up from .678 last year to .723 this season. Here is what Olney has to say about the numbers:

Look, Santana is still obviously among the better pitchers in the game, and his remarkable ability to change speeds means that he probably is going to age better than a lot of his peers. He is smart, dedicated and seriously competitive, so if there is something to figure out and there are adjustments that can be made, he’ll get there.

This question remains: Will he be worth to the Mets what they will pay him over the duration of the contract? We’ll see.

But it’s probably not a good thing that rival scouts are seeing signs of diminishment less than two months into a seven-year deal.

I’m really not all that concerned. Santana is adjusting to a different league and to a different team (and city). He probably feels as much pressure to perform as anyone on the team, and this might very well be affecting his performance. As far as last night’s game, Santana pitched well through six, and then blew up in the seventh. The loss was not completely his fault, though. Willie should have pulled him in the middle of the inning, instead of letting him finish the seventh (with a brilliant defensive play). He’s still one of the best pitchers in baseball, like Buster says, and I couldn’t imagine where the Mets would be without him right now.

-Jonathan Kraft

 

Ugly Mets

More to come on this in the morning, but the Mets lost their fourth straight tonight in Atlanta as Johan Santana couldn’t prevent the surging Braves lineup from overtaking the struggling New York club. The Mets have now lost seven of their last ten, have a losing record, and are 4.5 back of the Marlins (who beat Dan Haren tonight after beating Brandon Webb yesterday). It may not yet be time to panic, but it’s getting close. The fans are frustrated, the players are frustrated, the manager is frustrated, and one has to believe that the owners are frustrated, as well.

The Mets head to Colorado now to take on the struggling Rockies. The fate of Willie Randolph could very well rest on how the team performs in the next three games. Let’s not forget that the only reason why the Mets are still competative in the division is because of similarly mediocre play by the Braves and Phillies. Both of those teams seem to be turning a corner. The Mets are not following suit. A change has to be made, and the manager is the first one to go. Ultimately, the blame might rest on Willie, it might rest on Rick Peterson, it might rest on Howard Johnson, it might rest on Omar Minaya. But the manager is the one who is held accountable at the end of the day for the performance of his team on the field. Right now, that performance is unacceptable. As much as I like Willie, he’s a lame duck in my eyes. The blame might rest elsewhere, but it’s time for a change, and the first step has to be replacing Willie Randolph as manager.

-Jonathan Kraft

Postgame: Mets 7-Yankees 4

Johan Santana surrendered three home runs, but got the job done, combining with Billy Wagner to shut down the Yankees bats in Game One of a shortened Subway Series. Santana pitched 7.2, giving up 4 earned runs on 7 hits, walking three and striking out five on 100 pitches. Billy got the final four outs, racking up his ninth save of the year.

For the Mets, Jose Reyes and David Wright homered. Carlos Beltran, Brian Schneider, Luis Castillo, and Carlos Delgado also drove in runs.

For the Yankees, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, and Bobby Abreu homered. Andy Pettite took the loss, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs on 7 hits, walking 2 and striking out 7. Yanks goat Kyle Farnsworth gave up three runs in an inning of relief on two home runs.

Game two today features Oliver Perez against Chien-Ming Wang on Sunday Night Baseball at 8:05.

-Jonathan Kraft

Mets at Yankees postponed

As predicted, tonight’s Subway Series opener has been postponed until further notice. Tomorrow’s matchup will be Johan Santana for the Mets against Andy Pettite for the Yanks.