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Night Cap: Where Have You Gone, Johan Santana?

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It's tough to watch Johan Santana struggle. When the Mets first acquired Santana from the Twins, I was ecstatic. At the time, I was foolish enough to think that a top-notch pitcher like Johan would put the Mets back in the playoffs following Tom Glavine's devastating loss at the end of the 2007 season — otherwise known as Glavotage.

No matter how Santana finishes out this season and the rest of his contract with the Mets, which most likely only includes next season, he will have carved out a spot for himself in Mets history. In June, of course, he threw the first and only no-hitter in Mets history, and even through his poor start tonight — his fifth in his last five — Santana has posted a 3.18 ERA in 109 starts with the team.

All of that said, it's just not easy to watch Santana pitch the way he has lately. Unfortunately, when Santana's 2012 season and career go down in Mets history, much will be made of his splits before and after the no-hitter. Santana got rocked against the Yankees in the Bronx after the no-no, but he looked much like his successful 2012 self in a few starts after that. He's only been awful since his start against the Cubs at the beginning of July. But he's really been awful.

Including tonight's start, Santana has a 15.63 ERA in his last five starts. Tonight, the Mets took a lead in the first inning on a two-run single by Daniel Murphy. Santana was perfect through three innings, but he gave up three hard hits in the fourth before Michael Morse hit a grand slam to give the Nationals the lead. In the fifth, Bryce Harper took Santana yard to put the Nationals ahead by four. I'm fully enjoying the demise of the Phillies, but these Nationals look like they're going to be annoying for quite a while.

The Mets scratched out a couple of runs to at least make the rest of the game interesting, but they weren't able to tie things up. On Saturday night, Jon Niese takes the hill for New York, and Edwin Jackson starts for Washington.

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Federal Baseball Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +12.9% WPA
Big losers: Johan Santana, -45.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy two-run single in the first, +18.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Michael Morse grand slam in the fourth, -28.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -40.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -9.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Bryce Harper