Johan Santana quieted talk of his demise by tossing a three-hit shutout against a formidable Reds lineup. He also showed that he is still a man by cracking a solo home run off the right field foul pole in Santana's Cove. It was the first homer by a Met pitcher since John Maine on July 24, 2007. Six more and he ties Dwight Gooden for first on the Met pitcher home run list.
Johan's strikeout and walk rates both worsened during this game but I will ignore that for the rest of the recap. It's time to accentuate the positive. His average fastball velocity was up about one mph from where it's been all season -- perhaps the beastly hot weather helped him loosen up? He threw a first pitch strike 28 out of 34 times, or 82.4%, well above league average of 58.6%. Given his historically strong second half pitching, and word that he recently corrected a supposed pitch-tipping problem, there is reason to think Johan can perform closer to 2008 the rest of the way.
Some more strikeouts would be nice though.
It was a slow night offensively, outside of Johan's smash. Jose Reyes and David Wright were each on base twice. Rod Barajas went 0-3 and swung at five out of the eight pitches he saw. Jason Bay provided some insurance with a two-run single in the sixth inning off tiring Reds starter Matt Maloney. Dusty Baker probably should have brought in the very tall righthanded reliever Logan Ondrusek to face Bay but I won't complain. Dusty also presumably called for Orlando Cabrera's first inning sacrifice bunt, which immediately followed a Brandon Phillips lead-off double. He might be the only manager who can out-Jerry Jerry.
Eric Simon was spotted by SNY cameras sporting his favorite jersey at Citi Field tonight:
The rubber game is Wednesday night at 7:10. Jon Niese vs. Bronson Arroyo is the matchup. Arroyo has given the Mets fits in his career -- he's due for a good shellacking.
Unintentionally sexual quote of the game: "Dusty trying to ride Matt Maloney as long as he can." -- Gary Cohen
Johan goes nine, waving Jerry off with a bark
While his twelve-pitch at-bat ended out of the park
His periphs still urge caution, but tonight we can dream
That Santana of old has returned to the team
Big winners: Johan Santana +58.9% (as pitcher and hitter!), Jason Bay +10.9%
Big losers: Ike Davis -8.2%, Rod Barajas -5.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jason Bay two-run single +15.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Brandon Phillips double -6.0%
Total pitcher WPA: +47.6%
Total batter WPA: +2.4%
GWRBI!: The Johan
Nice job by Michkin; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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