Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

Don’t Mess With the No-Han!

Johan Santana threw a no-hitter last night.

Yes, I just typed that.

Fans will always remember June 1, 2012 as the night history was made, the night a team with 35 one-hitters finally got their no-no.

The first no-hitter in franchise history doesn’t come without controversy, with some media speculating about whether or not Carlos Beltran’s ground ball in the sixth inning went foul. But that’s just how the Mets roll. That ball will always be foul in the minds of the believers.

The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without heroics as Mike Baxter slammed into the wall, robbing Yadier Molina of what should have been an extra-base hit. Mike Baxter goes down as a hero in the minds of the believers.

The first no-hitter in franchise history didn’t come without the superstition, fans believing that any move that they made would break the no-hitter. For me, I didn’t leave work until the game was over. I was afraid that if I left, the no-no bid would be gone. I didn’t even watch the game, because if I turned it on in the middle, the first thing I would have seen was Yadier Molina getting that extra-base hit to end the no-hit bid. That, and I was, you know, at work.

But the first no-hitter in franchise history did come with something. It provided Citi Field with its own little piece of history. Something happened at Citi Field that had never happened at Shea. The no-hitter provided Mets fans with their first really good memories of Citi Field, whether you were there or not, whether or not you even watched the game. No longer is Citi Field a really fancy upgrade from Shea Stadium that pays tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Citi Field is a home, a sacred land where history was made.

In their 51st season and in their 8,020th game, the Mets have finally given a younger generation of Mets fans something to smile about.

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Well, the Mets have gone through a full rotation. After getting off to a 4-0 start, instilling hope in the eyes of many, the Mets have gone back to being the baseball team that we all know and love.

Jason Bay can’t hit the ball to save his life. David Wright fractured his pinky, jeopardizing Terry Collins’ plan to keep Daniel Murphy at second base. Dillon Gee hasn’t shaved his Brian Wilson-esque beard. Perhaps most worrying for the Mets is that in two starts, they’ve scored zero runs for Johan Santana.

Sure, they won on Opening Day…but the run came after Santana came out of the game. Yesterday, the Mets didn’t even score a run after they went to bullpen. On Opening Day, the Mets shut out the Braves. Yesterday, Johan only allowed one earned run. Am I missing something here? Did Santana not come back after 16 months and we have a new guy pitching who says his name is Johan Santana?

But this is nothing new for the Mets. Type in “Johan Santana run support” into any search engine, and one is bombarded with news items about Johan Santana from 2009 and 2010 about how he doesn’t get any run support. One story from yesteryear called him the “Unluckiest Pitcher in Baseball.” It’s not a stretch.

Take into consideration our divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. You can pretty much count on Roy Halladay going out there every time and notch another quality start into his belt. In reality, the Phillies only have to score one more run than the other team and maybe tack on an insurance run or two to prevent the other team from coimng back. It has been the Mets’ experience that not only does Halladay shut them down, but the offense tacks on one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN runs for Halladay.

I can’t comment on the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse, but part of me wonders if when Santana’s pitching, the hitters feel like they can be lax in their jobs. I’m not saying that having the stability of Johan Santana is a bad thing; the hitters take for granted that Santana is going to go out there and shut down the opponent and strike out 10 or 11 batters. I am worried about R.A. Dickey in this same fashion. Dating back to last year, Dickey has 13 straight quality starts. What’s to prevent Ike Davis from saying, “R.A. won’t let off more than three runs. I can chill” or “We have Johan freaking Santana. I can chill.”

Baseball is a two way street. Just as the pitchers have to pitch well, the hitters have to hit the ball. If Johan pitches well, isn’t entitled to more than three runs of support per start over the course of 25-30 starts?

 

A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report: Starting Pitching

Happy Friday and welcome to another installment of A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report! This week, I take a look at our starting pitching. The rotation hasn’t changed much, except for the fact that Johan Santana might actually throw the ball for the Mets this year. I will be critiquing the 2012 projected rotation of R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, Mike Pelfrey, and Santana. However, if one of these guys does this injured, I fully expect to see Matt Harvey crack the rotation because that’s just what the Mets do.

R.A. Dickey: Of the five guys in our starting rotation, Dickey is really the only one I don’t have to worry about. The knuckleballer was the only consistent part of our rotation last season, even though the team couldn’t get him a win to save their lives. When it mattered and when it didn’t matter, you could count on Dickey to keep them in the game. And now that’s back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (without incident), he can focus on the 2012 season. I have nothing bad to say about R.A. Dickey; I hope we sign him for two more years.

Dillon Gee: Of the five guys in our starting rotation, I almost don’t have to worry about Dillon Gee. The thought of a sophomore slump creeps into the back of my head. At the same time, I think Gee will be more acclimated to pitching a full season, so that September slump Gee had last season won’t happen again. Is Dillon Gee or ace of the future? No. Is Dillon Gee a solid #3 or 4 starter? Yes. I expect Gee to improve where it matters and hopefully, we get to keep pre-All Star break Dillon Gee and get rid of that other guy. And yes, sports journalists everywhere willl be able to make their own Dillon Gee inspired headlines (and I plan to also).

Jonathan Niese: This is where I start my worrying. Yes, Jonathan Niese was born to be a Met. His numbers worsened from 2010 to 2011 (even though he pitched less innings in 2011). I don’t know, given his injury history, if Jonathan Niese can imrove on last season’s numbers: 11-11 with a 4.70 ERA in 157.1 innings. When Niese first cracked the rotation in 2008, he was under Jerry Manuel, who kept pitchers in until they threw 100 pitches and then went to the bullpen. Terry Collins keeps pitchers in until they get tired and for Niese, it always seems to be at the 100 pitch count, whether he’s thrown four innings or seven innings. I really like Jonathan Niese and I want to see him improve, but I wish the front office would have given Chris Capuano the damn two years.

Mike Pelfrey: I really wish the front office would have given Chris Capuano the damn two years. Mike Pelfrey got a raise for sucking at his job. I wish I could get a raise for licking things with my unusally long tongue. During his tenure with the Mets, Pelfrey accrued a 50-54 record with a career ERA of 4.40. Last season was the first season where Pelfrey didn’t win at least 10 games, after he went 7-13. Of the guys in the rotation, Mike Pelfrey has the most to prove. It seems like that we, as fans, expected a lot more of Mike Pelfrey because he was our de facto ace last season. And the Mets told him that. And that was the team’s fatal mistake with Mike Pelfrey. And now we, as a fanbase, have resorted to making jokes about this man’s tongue. I have some, but I’m waiting for the season to start. If Mike Pelfrey is not in the Mr. Met costume on his off days, then I don’t feel we’re getting our money’s worth as of right now.

Johan Santana: Johan Santana is a walking question mark. He is throwing from 90 feet as of January 5, but the team hasn’t given a time table for his return. It seems like Santana is on the 15-month DL instead of the 15-day DL. Once Santana comes back, we don’t know if he’s going to be the same pitcher or even close to the same pitcher. I think that most Met fans would be happy with the Johan Santana that keeps the team in the game, whether he was the same pitcher or not. Santana is notoriously a second-half pitcher anyway, so it might take him half the season to get back into the groove of things. I’m not setting any expectations for Santana because that wouldn’t be fair. If he pitches the season, great. If not, it gives someone else in the minors a chance to pitch. But Terry hopes to get 25 starts from Santana this season. I hope so too.

As of this moment, Terry Collins has not picked his Opening Day starter. If I got to pick, it would be R.A. Dickey. If Santana was able to start, again, that would be awesome. Next week, this baseball chick takes a look at our bullpen, and we have a bunch of new guys and a bunch of old guys. So this should be fun.

 

Looking into the Mets Crystal Ball

Those who go by the Mayan calendar may believe that the world will end on December 21, but I go by a different calendar: the Mets calendar. The Mets calendar says that pitchers and catchers report on February 20, approximately 50 days from now.

So while football season may be over for the Jets fans out there (myself included), we can turn to our beloved Mets, and figure out ways that they will break our hearts this season. Or will they surprise us? Keep reading to see what Miss Cleo (or I guess it would be Miss Jessica) thinks.

The Mets will finish in last place next season. Lets face it. The other teams in our division have made measures to improve the team. What have the Mets done? We let Jose Reyes go to a divisional rival and traded Angel Pagan for the guy that punched Shane Victorino to start the Phillies/Giants brawl. We’re gonna need that guy because we’ll all want to punch Shane Victorino by the end of season. The loss of Jose Reyes marks the biggest loss of a homegrown product since Darryl Strawberry said deuces to the Mets in 1990. The Mets went on to have a losing record for the next six seasons. That doesn’t look good for the guys in orange and blue.

David Wright will not be a Met on July 31. And the tears of thousands of Met fans ring quietly in my ears. As much as I hate to admit, I think this move would be more about the Mets saving $16 million than about David Wright himself. Assuming moving in the walls at Citi Field does the trick for Mr. Wright’s offensive slump, I expect him to be back to 2007 form. 2008 David Wright would be too much to ask of the Baseball Gods. But another injury would prevent David from going on the trade block. Paging Matt Cain!

The Wilpons will not sell the team. It seems like they’re already having a hard time getting minority stake holders. I guess a business card that says “owner” doesn’t appeal to potential stakeholder. I can accept the Mets being a moneyball team as much as the next fan, but Sandy Alderson has nothing to build a better team with. One of the basic rules of business is that you can’t sell the product if nobody’s biting. That goes for both the minority stake and the product on the field.

R.A. Dickey will make it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro without incident. The Mets threatened to void Dickey’s contract if he gets hurt on the climb. We need R.A. Dickey, so I’m hoping he gets to the top of that mountain.

Johan Santana will pitch for the Mets at some point in the season. He’s gonna throw the ball. I’ll be damed if we pay him like $17 million to be hurt for the entire season. We could use that money to pay Bobby Bonilla!

Mike Pelfrey’s tongue will distract me. If being the de facto ace of the Mets doesn’t pan out (like it hasn’t so far), Mike Pelfrey has a second career as the frontman of a KISS tribute band.

Lucas Duda will have a big season. The season Ike Davis was supposed to have last year will be Lucas Duda’s season this year. Except for the part where Ike collides with David Wright. We can skip that part. Because I still don’t understand how it happened.

Daniel Murphy will become the new milk carton boy. Poor Murph doesn’t have a place on the team. I mean, he only plays like every position IN ADDITION to batting third. I suppose Murph either becomes the starting second baseman or he becomes the milk carton boy. I hope he doesn’t become the milk carton boy.

Banner Day will be awesome. Because it will be. ‘Nuff said.

Looking Ahead: 2012 Pitching

For the past two seasons, Dan Warthen has done well making something out nothing. Pitching has become both our greatest asset and out biggest need. 2011 without Johan Santana was tough; watching Mike Pelfrey pich was tougher.

For 2012, the Mets are expecting Santana to be healthy and ready. Realistically, we can’t expect Santana to be what he was; I would take 80-85% (which is 100% if you’re Carlos Beltran). But Santana at 80% is better than our de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey.

With Santana locked in as our Opening Day starter (barring further injury), we still need rotation spots 2-5.

I would put R.A. Dickey in the two hole. The knuckleballer’s 8-13 record might not be the most accurate stat given his performance in 2011. This season, Dickey pitched 208 2/3 innings and posted a 3.28 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 134 K’s. He also ended the season with 14 consectutive quality starts. This is someone I want in my rotation. Dickey is also fun to follow on Twitter. His handle is @RADickey43.

Dillon Gee gets the benefit of the doubt for being a rookie. The first season is always the toughest for pitchers because they get fatigued by September. Despite this, Gee still posted a 13-6 record with a 4.43 ERA,  a 1.38 WHIP, and struck out 114 batters. Gee fits in the middle of the rotation because like Santana and Dickey, Gee still pitches to keep the team in the game. Santana-Dickey-Gee might be the best 1-2-3 punch we have, unless we sign a #2 starter. A improbable possibility would be C.J. Wilson.

We also have Chris Capuano and Jon Niese to consider. When they’re good, they’re good. When they’re bad, it’s not pretty. Capuano has the run support but not the ERA. Niese has the ERA but not the run support.  If the Mets wanted to keep their rotation younger, they would go with Niese, but for the past two seasons, I think Niese has shown himself to be an injury risk. Sure, Capuano had two Tommy John surgeries, but he stayed healthy all season, right? If we don’t sign a free agent, I’d take them both. If we do sign a free agent, then I’d go with Niese, solely based on my bias towards younger players.

Mike Pelfrey is my odd man out. I truly believe that Dan Warthen has done everything he can to help Pelfrey improve his game. But Pelfrey hasn’t done jack squat except for lick his hand, lick the ball, lick the Gatorade cooler in the dugout, etc. We should cut our losses and tell Pelfrey bye-bye.

Like I said, even if a team has pitching, except if you’re the Phillies, you’ll always need pitching. I’m really okay with the rotation we do have. Now the offense has to give Johan, R.A., Dillon, Chris, and Jon some run support. Especially Johan, he’s always been hard for luck with this team.

Johan Santana will finish throwing on Saturday

Johan Santana will finish his rehab program on Saturday, when the Mets Instructional League ends.

Santana threw 4 innings on September 30 and will play catch and long ball up until Saturday, after which he will go on medically perscribed rest.

The Mets are optimistic that Santana will be ready for 2012, as are the Mets fans.

Santana had shoulder surgery on September 14, 2010 and missed the entire 2011 season because of it. I think the Mets did the right thing by not rushing Santana back, especially considering we weren’t playing for any division title, or even a winning record.

On the other hand, Johan Santana at like 80-85% has got to be better than 100% Mike Pelfrey. With a more consistent 1-2 punch, assuming the 1-2 punch is Santana-Dickey, I think the Mets have a decent shot to at least win 85 games next year. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen with so many things, but no matter what happens, they should be able to win at least half their games next year.

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