If Johan went out there and stymied the Dodgers with a gem of a performance, then it was imperative for the front office to add a proven and effective reliever for the bullpen, a possible upgrade at catcher, and a right-handed bat with power who could play corner outfield.
However, if Santana failed to produce at minimum a quality start, then the Mets chances to compete for a wild card would be dealt a critical blow.
Unfortunately for both the Mets and us, Santana was painfully awful, and it seems as though fate has delivered a strong and sobering message that any chance for the Mets to make the post season in 2012 could be doomed.
None of this is set in stone of course, but I just don’t see how we can go forward without the same Johan Santana we had for the first two months of this season.
We can’t win this thing with just R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese as the only two reliable pitchers in the rotation. The Mets were already handed a tremendous hit when they lost Dillon Gee for the season. Gee may have only been our number five starter, but he was one of the best and he always kept the Mets in games and gave them a chance to win. In 13 of his 17 starts, Gee allowed 3 runs or less. With Santana now essentially lost to in terms of going from staff ace to only God know what, we now have only two reliable options. How can we make a run with that?
In Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 33-year-old Santana gave up six earned runs on seven hits in three innings. He has now given up 19 earned runs in his last three starts (12.2 IP, 13.50 ERA), and became just the third pitcher in franchise history to give up six or more earned runs in three consecutive starts. What started out as a rags to riches season for Santana is now in tatters.
After the game a somber Terry Collins mulled his options which could include a trip to the day diabled list.
“He came out of the All-Star break, he had eight days of rest, pitched on the ninth day. He just hasn’t responded. So we’re gonna go in here and discuss some options and see what we come up with tomorrow,” Collins said.
“Obviously, when you talk about options, those things will all be brought up. Do you want to skip him one start? If you put him on the DL, you’re talking two starts. All those things are gonna be talked about.”
Santana says he feels OK but that confidence and swagger we’ve come to expect from him is now gone.
“I don’t feel my best right now, but at the same time, I’m not trying to find excuses. I’m just not executing my pitches. I’m not commanding my fastball,” Santana said.
The left-hander now finds himself at a tipping point with a 6-7 record and a 3.98 ERA.
A few days ago I posted on his deteriorating effectiveness since tossing his career-high 134-pitch no-hitter on June 1. Back then we dreamed of a potential Cy Young season for Santana, but how quickly the tables have turned on us.
Without our ace, our chances for winning one of those wild card spots could be doomed for good.
Barring a miracle that sees prospect Matt Harvey come up and deliver a Gooden-esque debut, I just don’t see a way forward. It would take a herculean effort by Harvey and the fact is that he’s simply not that good, and on top of that he may not even be ready. It was one thing to want Harvey to come up and replace our number five starter, but replacing our ace? No way, no how.
Last night’s game was as crucial and as pivotal as I had warned, and destiny may have handed down a possible death sentence to our 2012 season.