Anger Management 101: Bay’s First Error of Season Fails to Discourage Slugger/Closer Santana in 9th
Johann Santana really channelled his anger this evening and slugged a foul pole smashing homer to right to score what turned out to be the winning run and pitched a complete 113 pitch shutout to place the Mets at the top of the National League in shutouts, tying San Diego with 12. This was obviously in response to my blog of earlier the same day, begging the Mets to keep a careful eye on this important stat. They are on a pace to have 23 to 24 shoutouts this year, which would demolish all recent shutout records for the team. The last Mets complete game shutout was made on September 27th of 2008. The last Met pitcher to homer was John Maine on July 24th, 2007. It wasn’t Dave McNally’s two grand slam complete game, but this game will be the one they all remember at Citi Field.
Santana has had alot to be upset about lately, with vicious rumors being spread in the tabloids about his “golf game,” and a lack of home run support from his buddies, and being taken out of shutout games only to see them squandered by lesser men. Over the last 7 no decision games he has started, he has maintained a 1.24 ERA to no avail, probably breaking some record only Cooperstown knowns about, the “Heartbreak Hotel” record. Tonight he decided, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” He provided the runs, the first eight innings as a starter, and was his own closer as well, making a surprising reappearance in the ninth after hurling about 100 pitches on the evening. In that tumultuous ninth, Jason Bay muffed a simple fly ball with men on, his first error of the season, but it did not lead to a run. Santana was already at 111 pitches, so it looked like Bay’s error had placed the CG out of reach, but when Manuel asked “How are you doing?” Santana growled, “I’m fine, leave me alone.” With help from a cat like horizontal leap from the surprising Ike Davis on a scorching line drive, Santana needed only 2 more pitches to finish off the hot-hitting Redlegs, who lead the league in most offensive categories. His angry fastballs were topping off at 91 MPH, which is where he performs best. He recorded five strikeouts and three base on balls. This guy should get mad more often.
The home run was Santana’s first in 182 at bats. He fouled off about nine tough pitches, until he got a change up and belted it off the right field corner foul pole and guy wire. The run was all the Mets needed to win their 47th game of the season against 37 losses. The Reds were left counting three hits among them, while the Mets collected seven in the 3-0 win. Both teams made an error.
Johann (one of about a dozen players who don’t need a last name) is now 6-5 on the year, with a 3.15 ERA in 18 starts. He has 78 strikeouts, an all-time low, only his second win since mid-May. He gave up a lead off triple to start off the game, then mowed down 10 in a row.
David Wright Still on a Course for TC
In spite of a one for three performance in tonight’s game, Wright is still on a tear at the plate. He is currently batting .317, but has been batting .398 for the last 30 days. If he were to keep going at a .400 pace from this point, he would be hitting .322 by the All Star Break (106 for 329). If the were to keep that .400 pace after the break, he would hit .326 a week after the Mets resume play (114 for 349 by July 22) and .330 a week after that (122 for 369 by July 29th) and .334 by August 4th (130 for 389) That would place him high on the totem pole for batting champion for the NL. Unless Reyes, who bats ahead of Wright, is abducted by alien baseball scouts after the All Star Game and taken to Alpha Centuri to play for the Alpha Males, Wright should also be able to easily maintain his lead in the RBI category as well. That leaves the homers, AH WELL! At least he leads the NL in doubles, which is half a homer!