Johan, Intensity and Non Support

An article by posted on May 12, 2009

You can’t win ‘em all, it has been said, but last night’s defeat did sting a tad.

For one, the Mets continue to squander sterling Johan Santana performances. He should hire a lawyer and sue the hitters for non-support. Why do the bats take a respite every time the fiery lefty storms the hill?

The numbers don’t lie: 2.14 runs per game, worse for a starter (with 6 or more starts) this year. Can’t the Mets’ offense match the intensity Santana exudes every outing? Watching him close up for a season and nearing the quarter-pole, one thing is certain: he possesses a competitive spirit unmatched by many. Not a fire, but a conflagration, burns in his belly.

The man wants to win so bad it’s almost palpable.

He gives a five-star effort in every facet of the game. He fields with aplomb, runs hard to first (some of the regulars should take his cue), and pitches his heart out. Did Jerry Manuel remove him too early last night? Hearing Santana’s post-game remarks, you bet. This is one pitcher the Mets don’t have to baby.

However, if the defense rests nightly, along with the lumber, he will continue to lose games without yielding any earned runs. This time, the left side of the Mets infield let him down, not the corner outfielders. By my conservative count, that is three-four games lost in the young season to egregious errors. From a team that missed the post-season by only a single win, an alarming stat.

Nevertheless, a seven game win streak has brightened skies over gloomy (and overpriced) Citi Field, but losing to Atlanta always conjures up sour memories. Derek Lowe showed the Mets that not adding a fourth year to his contract demands, and settling for Oliver Perez, was a colossal mistake.

The game was neck and neck until Jose Reyes’ booted a slow runner hit by a slower runner (Brian McCann). Then the floodgates opened. In the words of Manuel, “I’m kinda of disappointed in my defense.” “Kinda?,” Jerry?

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