It wouldn't quite be fair to say that the Mets' Friday night game against the Dodgers was over before it started, but it sure felt that way while Johan Santana was on the mound.
In the top of the first inning, Johan served up a two-run home run to Matt Kemp, an understandable mistake since Kemp has been one of the best hitters on the planet since the beginning of the 2011 season. But Santana gave up a double to Andre Ethier after that, and later in the inning, Jerry Hairston Jr. singled to bring Ethier home and put the Mets down three. It was clear in the first inning that Santana wasn't quite right.
The Mets responded with two runs in the bottom of the first on a pair of sacrifice flies by David Wright and Ike Davis. In the top of the second, though, Santana had two outs with nobody on base when he issued a walk, gave up a single, and issued two more walks. The last of his three walks plated the Dodgers' fourth run of the night.
In the third, Santana gave up a two-run home run two Luis Cruz, who had never hit a home run in the big leagues before the game. Having recorded just six outs and allowed six earned runs, Santana was in the midst of one of his worst starts of his career. He finished the third inning, but he was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning. It was Santana's third straight awful start, and he threw 72 pitches — 45 of which were surprisingly strikes — in the outing.
The Mets scored a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to make it a close game while the bullpen hummed along with two scoreless innings from Pedro Beato and one from Ramon Ramirez. But Ramirez allowed a run in the seventh inning, which put the Dodgers up 7-4 and wound up the difference in the game.
Jordany Valdespin hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the inning to get the Mets within one. Valdespin has 6 home runs in only 85 plate appearances this year, and it's clear that he should get more playing time, preferably in Jason Bay's place in left field.
Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch threw a scoreless frame a piece to keep the Mets' deficit at one, but the hitters couldn't tie the game in either the eighth or the ninth.
Daniel Murphy had four hits in the game, including two doubles, and he now has 27 doubles on the season. There's a chance that Murphy joins the short list of Mets hitters who have hit 40 doubles in a season.
The series resumes at 1:10 pm on Saturday afternoon with Miguel Batista on the mound for the Mets. Former Met Chris Capuano takes the hill for the Dodgers.
SB Nation Coverage
* Traditional Recap
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* True Blue LA Gamethread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jordany Valdespin, +34.9% WPA, Daniel Murphy, +16.6% WPA
Big losers: Johan Santana, -43.6% WPA, Andres Torres, -22.6% WPA, Justin Turner, -13.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Valdespin’s two-run home run in the seventh, +18.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Kemp’s two run home run in the first, -17.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -35.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: -14.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Juan Rivera