Johan Santana was not at his best Saturday afternoon against the Minnesota Twins. He surrendered five earned runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings.
Usually you can brush off a bad start by Santana, but today was different. Now every start will be put under the microscope as Santana is now in the center of a sex scandal.
The celebrity website TMZ.com reported this week that in October, Santana was investigated for rape in Florida. According to police, the claim was thoroughly investigated and the case was closed due to insufficient evidence.
As a fan of Santana and the Mets you’d like to think this is a matter of “he said, she said” and Santana did nothing criminal. Any wrongdoings Santana may have committed, you’d hope he and his family can reconcile and conduct in privacy.
Did the scandal affect Santana against the Twins?
Santana was not atrocious. He was done in byone bad inning (41 pitches and four runs in the first), much like he was last Sunday against the Yankees (serving up a grand slam in the third inning).
Mets manager Jerry Manuel told the media:
“That I wouldn’t know. That’s not my area of expertise. All I know is that when he gets out there, he competes. I didn’t notice anything in his demeanor that would indicate that was an issue for him.”
What is certain is Santana is not completely healthy after off-season surgery on his elbow. He told Mets Insider:
“After the last surgery I am still recovering from it. Having bone chips in my (left) elbow changed my mechanics a little bit. But I feel much better now. … I am making progress and I’m adjusting.”
Tabloids will give the scandal more attention than it deserves. Gossip sells, and people will talk about Santana and question his character. That’s the nature of the beast.
While I am not going to push this aside and exonerate Santana from this, the case is different from say the Ben Roethlisberger case since this was supposed to be an open and shut case only to be dredged up by TMZ, who love to exploit bad celebrity behavior.
Innocent or guilty, Santana will have to face this off-the-field distraction in the weeks and months ahead.