Can the Mets count on Johan Santana in the second half?

For once, the Mets’ beleaguered bullpen cannot be blamed for another tough, gut-wrenching defeat, when on Friday night the Mets fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6. The Mets have now dropped eight out of their last ten.

Ironically, it was the Mets’ bullpen that kept the team in Friday’s affair, as four Mets’ relievers combined to pitch six innings while allowing only one run on three hits and one walk.

No, the Mets were stuck in a hole due to Johan Santana’s ineffectiveness on this night.

Santana was off, as he completed only three innings while allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks. The Mets did their best too scrap and climb their way back into the game and eventually only lost by one run, which has been a theme of late.

This was no aberration. Santana has simply not been himself of late.

Actually, Santana has not been quite the same since he threw his epic no-hitter back on June 1. Since that time, Santana has allowed 31 earned runs in 42.2 innings pitched (6.54 ERA). In those eight starts since the no-hitter, Santana has only thrown three quality starts. Also, since that memorable night at Citi Field, Santana’s WHIP is an unsettling 1.63.

So, it begs a question, is Santana breaking down and did all that workload in the no-hitter take the wind out of Santana’s sails?

It’s beginning to look that way. Santana is not pitching with any confidence-or perhaps perfect health-of late and as a result the club is weighing its options for a way to keep him fresh.

Terry Collins and Mets’ management are tossing out the idea of skipping Santana’s next start or perhaps even placing him on the DL with a dead arm, where he would essentially miss two starts.

It is not the opportune time for this to happen to Santana, as the Mets are bordering on the brink of another collapse and need all the arms they can muster. If Santana cannot overcome either this so-called “dead arm” or this current rough patch then the Mets may ultimately be doomed.

I believe Santana has been pushing himself of late trying to keep this Mets’ club in the race. Santana knows a lot of weight falls on his (repaired) shoulders, and it appears he is trying too hard. I think the best thing is to sit him down for two starts, give Matt Harvey an audition in his place and then go from there.

Look, Santana is the ultimate competitor and he’ll be the first to tell you that he is fine and that he’ll work through these struggles. However, the Mets have to protect Santana since he is a fragile commodity. Remember, this is a serious injury Santana is trying to battle back from. There may be no shortcut here.

Santana will forever live in Mets’ lore for his no-hot masterpiece in June, but all those innings might be catching up to Santana and sometime a brief rest is all that is needed.

The Mets need to play this smart considering Santana’s health is vital to any success they have this year (and maybe even next year) and this is something that will have to be handled with kid gloves.

Follow me on Twitter @Stacdemon

5 comments for “Can the Mets count on Johan Santana in the second half?

  1. July 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

    And shortly after you posted this he went on the DL.

    Hefner called up today but it looks inevitable that we will see Harvey before the month is out. On the last podcast Mack Ade said Harvey had the confidence and I guess we’ll find out.

    • Chris F
      July 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Pretty much no. But it’s worse than that if you look into reality: he hasn’t had a decent outing since the no hitter on 1 June, so we really only got April and May, or about 2/3 of the first half. The SP is a genuine crisis ans is the relief core. Add that RA has been poor in his last handful of starts, the only thing we have going is Niese. Not only can’t we count on Johan, I’m not sure we can count on anyone on the hill. Add to this the odd use of the pen by TC (I completely agree with you name), and no arms out there anyway.

  2. Name
    July 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I’ve noticed a trend with RA and Santana. When one is pitching well, so does the other. When one is pitching poorly, the other does as well. Coincidence?

  3. Chris F
    July 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    This team does “feed” and it extends to the hitting. We get some great pitching, and score 12 runs in a blow out. We get lousy pitching and the bats are either silent or not enough to compensate. It’s part do the dr Jeckyll and Mr. Met phenomenon of 2012.

    That said, this is a good look for us to see where the issues are exposed completely raw, and who’s a real gamer. As I’ve said here many a time, I don’t think it’s far off AND pitching pitching pitching (starters and relief). The outfield is completely suspect, but I like converting JV to a corner guy, and he can be an every day guy. My hope for Duda is fading rapidly. I’d love to see him figure out lefty pitching, but I think he needs time out of the majors to do it. The experiment is a failure as of now; I accept that despite having high hopes. CF is wide open and I can help but wonder if MdD is our eventual guy there. Is Scotty a long-term answer? I’m like the infield and the bench guys that we have. I can be happy with Thole too. He needs more time to solve the bat, but he seems to handle pitchers well. So, it comes back to the mound. I thing R A is worth resigning. Niese is with us. Gee a back end guy, but for sure we need Harvey and Wheeler to live up to the hype and make the squad. I’m suspicious of El Ram still and cautious of Edgin. Otherwise, there’s no one I trust out there. It needs attention, for the long term. I would give up no one of consequence in the minors to acquire relief help.

    • Dan Stack
      July 23, 2012 at 3:30 am

      Yeah, I’m very worried about Duda too.

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