April 19, 2008

Santana, The Difference-Maker!

In January, when Mets' GM Omar Minaya pulled the trigger on the trade for Twins' Ace Johan Santana, last night was EXACTLY the kind of game he envisioned: David Wright, the Mets' superstar, going 4 for 4 with a single, two doubles and a triple, and yet his performance was a far second to that of starter Johan Santana, who went 7 innings, striking out 10, walking none and giving up 3 runs, two of which were only his via rules governing earned runs. With none out in the bottom of the eighth, Santana gave up two hits, and manager Willie Randolph made the switch to the Jeckyl and Hyde-like Aaron Heilman who, sadly, was more Hyde last night, giving up a 3-run homer to the Phils' Greg Dobbs, which added 2 runs to Santana's line. To sum up just how good Santana really was, let's leave it to ESPN's Jayson Stark:

How much of a difference might Santana make this season in the life of the NL East? Well, it's still about five months too soon to answer that one. But Santana gave quite the spectacular sneak preview Friday in the 6-4 Mets victory. The score -- and his final pitching line -- bore no relationship to how dominating he actually was. For seven innings, Santana carved up the Phillies, dialing up a 10-strikeout, zero-walk two-hitter that was ridiculously efficient.

No Philly hitter went to the plate with a runner in scoring position. The only three-ball count was against the first hitter of the game. And among the 24 hitters who arrived at home plate and the 96 pitches they saw whooshing their way, it was hard to count more than five good swings.

THIS is the type of pitching performance Minaya envisioned when he gave the Twins four of the Mets top prospects to acquire the left-handed ace, winner of two Cy Young Awards, and it's the type of performance Mets' fans imagined since the end of last season, when rumors about Santana's availability began! So much for the thought that the Phils were stuck in the heads of the Mets' players (and fans...)

This is also why we were so angry at those who booed Santana last week, as not only is it the wrong welcome to send out to our ace, but also knowing that April, traditionally, has been Santana's worst month throughout his career. In fact, the first half of the season, traditionally, isn't close to being Santan's dominant time- during his career, Santana is 50-17 with a 2.79 ERA in 83 second-half starts - and that came against the DH-ridden American League!! Overall, during the past 5 seasons, from 2003 - 2007, he has 82 victories, a 2.92 ERA and 1.152 whiffs - hall-of-fame caliber numbers, to say the least!!! Now, imagine what the rest of his season will look like, considering that he's already 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA and 28 strike-outs in 4 games?! When the temperature heats up, so will Santana - and I, for one, just can't wait!!!

Today's Game/Phils' Announcers Tried To Rub It In Last Night:

Oliver Perez goes against the Phils today, and let's hope he uses last nights performance as an example of what we need today! We need a sweep of this weekend's series, on the Phils' homeground, to further put last season to rest. He's currently 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA, following a game in which he gave up 6 runs on 8 hits with 3 walks and 4 k's - not stellar numbers, so let's hope his "Hyde" persona isn't evident in today's game, played in a park where the slightest mistake becomes a home run! Prior to that last game, Perez hadn't given up an earned run in his prior 11 innings - he needs a return to that form today! The game is at 3:55pm EST, 12:55 PST, a few hours away- and it's broadcast on Fox in the east as the Fox "Game of the week" (while we get the Braves- Dodgers- ugh!)

Today's Mets' Line-Up:

SS Jose Reyes
LF Ryan Church
3B David Wright
CF Carlos Beltran
1B Carlos Delgado
LF Angel Pagan
C Brian Schneider
2B Luis Castillo
P Oliver Perez

At the start of yesterday's telecast, which I watched via MLB.TV AND which featured the Phils' (horrible) broadcast team, they showed a recap of the end of last season and the final games against the Mets- with a voice-over that said "remember THIS, Mets' fans??!!!" while they showed footage of the Phils parading off the field in victory. Well, better fighting words have never been heard- now let's continue where Santana began and sweep this darn thing!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if anyone thought that santana woulnt make a difference then they should pull their heads out of the sand