Johan Santana Knocked Out Early, Mets Can't Come Back Against Braves

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Johan Santana's health is more important to the Mets going forward than one poor game, so his postgame statement that his surgically repaired shoulder feels fine provides some relief after tonight's 9-3 debacle. The bullpen went to work early and often after Santana was pulled after just 1.1 innings, having given up six runs on four hits with no strikeouts. It might not be the worst start of his Mets career, but it's certainly a challenger along with these:

Santana's velocity was on par with his first two starts this season, both of which were relatively successful. His bugaboo tonight was location. His pitches caught too much of the plate and the Braves made him pay. Check out the cluster of meatballs in the middle of the strike zone:

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Santana allowed an unearned run in the first inning. Jason Bay dropped a fly ball hit by Michael Bourn, who later came around to score on a Chipper Jones sacrifice fly. It was small potatoes compared to the second inning. Here was the sequence:

Hopefully it really was just one of those games. On to the next one.

The Mets' offense scattered ten hits and three walks, unable to come up with a big extra-base hit when the game was within reach. Bay came up in the fifth inning with runners on first and second, one out, and the score 6-2. He struck out, as did the next batter, Lucas Duda, squelching the mini rally. The Braves then scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning off Ramon Ramirez to put the game out of reach. Wright continued to rake, going 2-for-5 with two singles. It's worth noting that he struck out twice and swung-and-missed at four pitches. Josh Thole went 1-for-3 with a walk and saw a game-high 31 pitches. His slash line is now .370/.500/.444.

Batista, Ramirez, and Manny Acosta combined to pitch 6.2 innings in relief, allowing three runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Batista did a nice job closing the lid on the Santana grease fire in his 1.2 scoreless innings. Ramirez fell behind most of the batters he faced en route to giving up two runs in his two innings. Acosta matched a career high by pitching three innings. He gave up a solo home run to Juan Francisco in the eighth.

R.A. Dickey will do his best to give the Mets a shot at another series victory on Thursday afternoon. He faces Jair Jurrjens at 12:10 pm.

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Box score
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Talking Chop Gamethread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Mike Baxter +3.7%, Josh Thole +2.2%
Big losers: Johan Santana -37.1%, Lucas Duda -5.2%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Mike Baxter RBI single +3.7%
Teh sux0rest play: Freddie Freeman RBI double -11.5%
Total pitcher WPA: -38.1%
Total batter WPA: -11.9%
GWRBI!: Tyler Pastornicky

Game Thread Roll Call

Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.

Num Name # of Posts
1 MetsFan4Decades 142
2 CTRefJay 97
3 Terry_is_God 80
4 Xfactor26 72
5 Joveoak 43
6 astromets 40
7 CervezaVerde 39
8 sj10689 38
9 fxcarden 34
10 KeithsMoustache 28

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