The health of Johan Santana is of paramount importance to Mets fans and any hope that they may make the playoffs. We have heard him say he feels fine, other than some blisters. We also would have to believe that any sane manager would absolutely make it his business to know if his ace was hurt and would not risk his entire season (well excuse me, but this is Jerry Manuel). So going into today’s game 2 against the Rays, Mets fans (and this fan of the great art of pitching) are hoping that our fears are put to rest by a return to form of one of the greatest pitchers in the game in the past five years.
Three things will be strong indicators of his health:
Confidence in his stuff: Johan at his best is a strike thrower. It will be interesting to see when he gets ahead in counts (0-2 or 1-2) if he tries to finish batters off instead of "wasting pitches" which is something we have rarely seen from him. An aggressive, confident, efficient performance will be a welcome sight today. One of my major criticisms of him in the past was that he is too efficient and predictably throws strikes on almost every pitch and I have seen him concede most runs when he is actually ahead in the count.
Velocity: Clearly, we need to see his fastball approaching the low to mid 90’s. An average fastball of 91 or higher is what we would like to see today from the great man.
Runs, 3 or less: His current ERA of 3.29 is higher than it should be for a pitcher of his ability and it is higher than his ERA in every season since 2002 (with the exception of 2007 which was 3.33). The ERA needs to come down, starting today. This will be a though ask as the Rays lead the AL in runs scored.
For the sake of great pitching in New York this season lets pray that we see each of the above today. Johan Santana is probably one of the most electric pitchers in the past number of years, and this fan of pitching is praying for a return to form today. ‘Mon the Mets!!
Stats from mlb.com