Archive for the ‘Johan Santana’ Category

Where I Stand

February 29, 2012

Recently, a good buddy of mine asked me in an email what the Mets’ chances are this year.  I thought I would share it with you because it pretty much sums up where I’m at with the boys in blue and orange.

Forgive any grammatical errors you may find as I copied my reply verbatim:

Yeah, 2012 is going to be rough. Even worse than the fact the Wilpons are strapped financially because of Madoff, is the fact that they seem resolved to do everything within their power to hold onto the team.  I don’t necessarily blame them, it just sucks for fans because we have to wait for this mess to play itself out.

I think they will be close to the same record as last year.  Ike Davis is for real so he’ll add some pop to the lineup if he doesn’t have another mysterious ankle injury on a pop up to the pitcher.  Lucas Duda is also intriguing and could be a dark horse for a breakout year from my glass is half full perspective.

The reality is they need David Wright,  Jason Bay, and more importantly Johan Santana to somehow perform as they did in their prime to be better than 75 wins.  If any of them do, I think they should trade them as soon as possible.  This would get some huge contracts off the books, allow the front office to invest it more wisely to prepare for 2013 or 2014 when they are anticipating some good young arms to mature for the rotation.  I know you can’t depend on guys in the minors to reach potential, but what other option do they have?  They don’t have the ability to sign high priced free agents, so no use crying over spilled milk in my opinion.

Spring Training

The reality of Spring Training 2012 is there isn’t much up for debate, which makes it relatively boring.  The lineup is set, the bullpen is set, and the rotation is set for the most part.  The only real question is how well will Johan Santana progress and when will he get his first start.  I guess that was two questions, but you get the point.

The good part about this is, there shouldn’t be any legitimate drama to worry about.  The bad thing is, the media will have to look for things to write about to fill their word quotas.  Get ready for:

  • 17,345 more stories that cover how the Madoff mess has or will impact the Mets
  • 25,467 different stories about Jason Bay’s approach at the plate this season
  • More made up drama like the Ruben Tejada report date silliness
  • Stories about players bowling, playing Tiddlywinks, or completing Sudoku puzzles

I really wish someone would take a chance on original reporting and investigate something that matters.  Like why in the hell Mr. Met got passed over for the new season of Dancing With the Stars.

Is he doing the Dougie?

Pitching, Pitching, & More Pitching

October 4, 2011

Jose Reyes will dominate the discussion in terms of 2012 roster decisions for the New York Mets.  He’s one of the most exciting players in all of baseball, so it’s easy to understand.

The problem is, the shortstop position should not be the focus of the organization.  The starting rotation should be.  The Mets could re-sign Jose Reyes, successfully convert Ike Davis into a gold glove center fielder, sign Prince Fielder and they still wouldn’t make the playoffs with their current rotation.  I may be exaggerating a tad, but you get the point.

Besides, their offense isn’t the problem.  The Mets were sixth in the National League in runs scored (718).  That’s five runs better than the Phillies.

The 2011 Mets’ starting rotation sported a woeful 4.11 ERA.  There were nine teams better in the National League in this particular area, including all four playoff teams.  As it stands, the rotation has no legitimate ace, a number two or three guy in Johan (due to injury and age), a number three guy in Dickey, and a collection of #4 or #5 guys at best.

Mike Pelfrey (career 4.40 ERA) and Chris Capuano (career 4.39 ERA) need to go.  To put it simply, they are not part of the solution.

Jon Niese and Dillon Gee still have yet to prove they are worth holding on to, but I wouldn’t be upset if the Mets want to give them both another chance in 2012.  Part of me thinks Niese doesn’t have the stamina or strength to make it as a starter and the Mets need to consider moving him to the bullpen. Right now, his 4.20 ERA in 2010 and his 4.40 ERA this season place him alongside Big Pelf and Cap.

Back to Jose for a second. For those of you new to Midwestropolitan (shame on you for not joining us earlier), I am not saying I don’t want Jose to remain a Met.  As a fan, I hold on to hope they can figure out a way to re-sign him and fix the rotation at the same time.  The realist in me knows that is a tall order.

The bottom line is we should keep an eye on what the front office does with the rotation.  It will tell us a lot about whether or not they truly believe they can contend in 2012.  If there isn’t much turnover, it means they are willing to sacrifice 2012 to give Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey, and Zack Wheeler time to develop with hopes that any and all of them form a strong young core in 2013.

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Chasing The Braves

July 9, 2011

News today of Chipper Jones heading to the DL got me to thinking.  Dangerous, I know.

What is going to have to happen for the Mets to actually catch the Braves in the second half of the season?

First and foremost, the Mets are going to have to play better at home.  A lot has been said about how this current group genuinely enjoys being together, and it has been suggested this is a reason why they play well on the road.  Somehow they have to figure out how to bottle that attitude when they are at Citi Field.

Larry going down for a few weeks is certainly an added bonus for the Mets.  However, their offense is not Atlanta’s strength, as they are 17th in the majors in runs scored and 26th in terms of team average (the Mets are tenth and a surprising fifth respectively).

More importantly, Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson will need to cool off a bit.  They are a formidable pair at the top of the Braves rotation and Jurrjens has been absolutely lights out this season.

The Mets are going to have to take advantage of their nine remaining head to head games, all of which are in August and September. The Amazin’s have proven they are capable of beating the Braves with wins in the last two series.

One would also think that the Mets will catch a break in terms of at least two of the four stars that are currently injured (Wright, Reyes, Davis, and Santana) and they can provide significant second half reinforcements.

Terry Collins will have to continue to out manage Fredi Gonzalez.  It has been a long time since we have been able to say this, but the Mets have a better skipper at the helm then their division rivals.  Fredi Gonzalez has the tendency to make some head scratching in-game decisions.

I may regret saying this, but I fully expect the Mets to exceed expectations in the second half.  Don’t take that statement out of context, I am not saying they will be in the post season.  I just believe they will not collapse and will continue to compete every series.

There is a different feel to this team.  They have established they can hit for average, play solid defense, and throw out a quality start every night.  More importantly, they seem to be enjoying themselves each night.

Regardless of what transpires, I am grateful that I am writing about chasing a playoff slot rather than discussing 2012 and beyond.

 

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Just Stay Afloat

July 8, 2011

Only three games left prior to the All-Star Break.  My, how time flies.

It is realistic to believe the Mets could drop two of three in San Francisco prior to this well deserved break.  You know what?  I would be okay with that.

If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that the Mets would be one game over .500 considering the following factors I would have laughed in your face heartily:

  • Johan Santana still has yet to pitch
  • David Wright has played in only 39 games
  • Ike Davis has played in only 36 games
  • Angel Pagan missed 30 games
  • Jose Reyes is on the DL with a bum hamstring
  • Chris Young is out for the season after only four starts
  • Jason Bay has been non-existent for a vast majority of the season
  • Tom has yet to don the over sized head of the Mr. Met suit

I am confident they will find a way to get a win in San Francisco.  Much has been said about the three starters the Giants will throw at the Mets. Yes they are formidable, but they are human and can be beat.   As a matter of fact, all three (Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Cain) haven’t exactly thrown no hit ball in their last couple of starts.

The icing on the cake scenario would put the Mets three games over .500 after figuring out a way to stun the World Champs with a road series win.

Avoiding a sweep is paramount.  It would be somewhat deflating to find the Mets a game under .500 after all they have accomplished the last few weeks with all of the challenges thrown at them.

Playing GM: Dealing With Big Contracts

April 15, 2011

Hi. I’m Sandy Alderson. I’m telling you what is running through my mind with regards to players who make a lot of money and how I plan to deal with them. I’m also telling you why all hope is not lost for you (the fans). You’re pretending to care.

Expiring Contracts (2011)

  • Carlos Beltran (makes $20M this year) – There are two options here and as far as I’m concerned one is far better than the other. I’m hoping Beltran is healthy and productive. I’m hoping that come late July a contender with deep pockets, touchable quality pitching prospects and a hole in the middle of their order comes calling. I’m hoping they’ll take the last two months of his contract in full, but if not I’m willing to listen depending on the quality of what I get in return. If I can’t move him at the deadline, I let his contract run out and say thank you for the 7 years of service (sorry Jason).
  • Jose Reyes (makes $11M this year) – Plan A is this. I believe dealing Jose at the deadline is the right thing to do if we are out of contention (which we will be). If I were to re-sign him, I would have to give him years I don’t want to give and money I’m not sure I can afford. It’s a difficult decision because he’s still a fantastic player. But that’s why it makes sense to move him when he still has great value. I can get something significant in return (young arms and a young shortstop ideally) and avoid repeating mistakes that made my job so difficult to begin with. I do not believe Jose is worth the contract he will likely demand (7 years and in the range of $18-20M per year going by market value). I do not believe he will be a great player by year 4 or 5 of that deal – I don’t want to be paying $18M/year to a guy whose game is predicated on speed he can no longer utilize. It’s complicated because I want my bosses to be happy and I want people to show up to the ballpark, but I think in 3 or 4 years it’s better to have a couple of developing pitchers than an aging, injury prone shortstop who I owe a ton of money.
  • The flip side on Reyes – Let’s say I can’t get in return something of worthy value that I’m confident will provide great things in the future. If his production is that good and I can’t get quality young arms in return, I instead try to sign him to a deal more in the range of 5 years – a much more reasonable length than 7. I still believe Jose will not be the same player 4 or 5 years from now, but my boss might simply not let me “throw in the towel” in the short term. If he loves New York as much as it seems, perhaps we will be able to negotiate a reasonable contract, as a large portion of my reasoning for dealing him is based on his assumed length of contract and financial cost (See: Crawford, Carl).
  • Francisco Rodriguez (makes $12M this year) – I call White Sox GM Kenny Williams and convince him that this guy will be able to fix what’s driving Ozzie crazy. If that doesn’t work, I hope he doesn’t finish 55 games (I can’t exactly order Terry Collins to bench him because the players association will get all pissed). If not that, I hope that his contract is voided due to the mental and emotional stress he causes everyone.
Players with contracts extending beyond 2011
  • David Wright (makes $14M this year) – Some fans speculate as to whether David’s situation is similar to Jose’s. As of right now I have no intentions to do anything other than re-sign him. He is the best player on the team, is young, and is the face of the franchise.
  • Jason Bay (makes $18M this year) – Nothing to be done here. I trust that Jason will turn it around and I believe that he will. There will be no takers in a deal and there’s not much sense in trying anyway.
  • Johan Santana (makes $22.5M this year) – Unfortunately, my predecessor was unaware that Johan peaked in 2006. I have no idea whether he will pitch this year or next or what.  It’s an unfortunate situation in which I hope for the best because nobody is taking on his contract. He’s not what he once was but hopefully he can figure out a way to remain effective like Pedro did early in his Mets career.
Taking out the trash
  • Ollie and Luis are owed money this year only. This should further open up room for future (wise) spending.
Why it might all be ok
  • A lot of big contracts will expire in the coming years. Money owed to Carlos, Francisco, Ollie, and Luis are no longer going to be burdens in this rebuilding process. I’m trusting that my bosses and our fans have patience, understanding and faith in the process – a process that focuses on the big picture as opposed to the short term. Within 3 or 4 years things will have changed. There will be less long-term contracts given to players already in their prime as opposed to approaching it. There will be a new team to beat in the east, as the Phillies will be aging. Our farm system will slowly but surely be built up again. I will emphasize pitching because that’s how winners are built.

ESPN: “Ten Reasons The Mets Aren’t That Bad”

April 7, 2011

What a terrific title. No BS this time. Let me get right to it…

1. David Wright is still a really good player. He fell out of the “SportsCenter” highlights during that 10-homer season in 2009, but hit 29 last season. If he gets his OBP back in the .390 range, he’s one of baseball’s best third baseman, a step below the Ryan Zimmerman/Evan Longoria duo.

  • The strikeout totals concern me. 161 last year was too much. Already this year he has 7 in his first 5 games. Even so, Wright is absolutely one of the elite third basemen in baseball and I think the Mets can bank on him being right around his 162 game average of 27 HR and 107 RBI. He’s the franchise.

2. Jose Reyes in a contract year. All the skills are still there. He still has the speed and the rocket arm. He doesn’t turn 28 until June. I feel a big year, back among the NL runs leaders … and a big contract in the offseason.

  • Does he have the potential to have a big year? Sure. Does he also have the potential to miss half the season? Yep. If he is playing well and the Mets are out of the race in July he might be on his way out with the right deal. If the Mets are in it and he’s playing well, he may be on his way to an extension. I really don’t know. I lean towards the latter as opposed to the former. I think the Mets organization still wants to try and win something big with the left side of the infield intact.

3. Angel Pagan is for real. He’s a solid center fielder, a switch-hitter with speed and just enough extra-base power to be dangerous. You can win a division title with Pagan out there. For example, is Shane Victorino really any better than Pagan?

  • What I don’t get is how winning a division title affects the player comparison. You can win a division title with Jamie Moyer in your rotation. So what? It really has little to do with who is better. That said, Victorino has 3 gold gloves and some great post season success. I love Pagan and I loathe Victorino. In other words, I’d take either on my team.

4. Depth in the lineup. As Baseball Prospectus pointed out in its annual, the Mets gave 40 percent of their plate appearances to hitters worse than league average. Among the culprits with at least 100 plate appearances: Luis Castillo, Rod Barajas, Alex Cora, Henry Blanco and somebody named Jesus Feliciano. This year, the Mets go eight deep in the lineup, with catcher Jose Thole hitting eighth. And Thole isn’t that bad. Not much power, but a decent .357 OBP as a rookie in 2010.

  • Right. The lineup was never going to be the problem, especially once Bay returns. Reyes-Pagan-Wright-Beltran-Bay-Davis is a dangerous 1-6, especially with pesky hitters in the 7 and 8 holes. The problem is instead when your rotation is loaded with #3 and #4 starters that end up matching up against another team’s ace or #2 starter every 5th day. Without Santana the Mets have no ace, and I’m not sure they have a #2 either.

5. Brad Emaus. My colleague Eric Karabell loves Emaus. Hey, he’s gotta be better than Luis Castillo. Of course, my couch is better than Luis Castillo.

6. The bench. Lucas Duda has some good minor league hitting numbers, Scott Hairston can hit lefties, Daniel Murphy is back after being injured last season and he’s a nice utility guy.

  • How could I not be convinced by “some good minor league hitting numbers” and “nice utility guy?” Still wondering what the plan is for Murph…

7. Potential in the rotation. I am worried about Mike Pelfrey after two bad starts, but the rotation could be solid with R.A. Dickey, a step forward from Jonathon Niese, a comeback from Chris Young and Chris Capuano. Yes, they lack an ace unless Johan Santana returns healthy, but all these guys could at least be decent. And if you have five decent starters, you have a chance.

  • I just don’t see how the Mets rotation gets them to the playoffs without Santana leading the way. There’s no #1 and there’s no #2 until proven otherwise. There are solid #3′s (Niese, Young, Pelfrey, Dickey), and a shaky #5 (Capuano) but Santana’s return is key. The Mets have to find a way to stay in the picture until then. If Santana is any good, it will improve the entire staff because guys will be able to slot down one spot in the rotation a piece.

8. The bullpen is sneaky good. Hard-throwing Bobby Parnell is ready to emerge in the setup role, D.J. Carrasco is a ground ball specialist with a rubber arm who won’t give up many homers,Taylor Bucholz was really good with the Rockies before getting injured. I’m no fan of K-Rod, but he’s better than a lot of closers. (But can we dump the nickname please? He really hasn’t been K-Rod since about 2007.)

  • I have a wait and see mentality about this. I hope Mr. Schoenfield is right. I also hope K-Rod can figure out how to get through an inning without allowing two base runners. I hope his “I have to strike out every batter and be so perfect that I thus torment my manager with walks” mentality fixes itself too. Hope…

9. Terry Collins. Let’s put it this way: BP reminded me of the incident last season when Jerry Manuel had Castillo bunt in extra innings against Cardinals outfielder Joe Mather. Collins is worth a win or two from a strategic/lineup viewpoint. Or maybe three or four.

  • So far I love what I see with Collins. The Mets are playing aggressive and smart for the most part. The guys seem to like him. But, let’s see if his style wears thin as it has in his past gigs.

10. Carlos Beltran’s knees. I’ve avoided mentioning them until now. The Mets are due a little luck in the health department, right?

  • If he can figure out how to hit again like he did in ’06 that’d be fantastic. Don’t count on it.

Add it all up and the Mets could win 86-87 games, and in the National League that could make them wild-card contenders.

  • I picked the Mets to finish 4th in the East and I’m not about ready to change that 5 games into the season. Many things have to go right for them to be in contention for the division or for the wild card. Let’s see them play good ball for an extended period of time and if they do I’ll willingly eat crow.
  • Here is the full article if you so desire…

Don’t Count On Johan In 2011

February 17, 2011

Johan Santana’s official rehab time table has been set. We are looking at late June to mid July according to Mr. Alderson’s math.

The thought of Johan on the hill for his customary seven innings is a pleasant one in late February. Yet another glass is half full thought during the most optimistic time of the year for many baseball fans.

I want to take this time to apologize, as I am about to bring the room down for a minute. Time to be “Debbie Downer”, the wet blanket, the office complainer. It is prudent for us not to expect much from Johan in 2011.

It takes six to twelve months to recover from this surgery. So right away there is potential to take us into September or October. My Midwestern logic (similar to Spidey Sense for the lay person) tells me it is more realistic to expect the full year due to the fact that this man has put a considerable amount of stress on this shoulder for a number of years. More so than you or I for certain.

We may see Johan take the hill prior to September. The anticipation that will build up to that start will cause many to start talking about immediate impacts. It will be hard not to. Just remember, this won’t mean he is 100 percent.

Remember how long it took Jose to come back to full form last year? How many games would you say it took David Wright to shake off the affects of Matt Cain’s beaning? Hell, we are still waiting on the 100 percent return of Carlos Beltran. The probability is pretty high that when Johan first returns he will be limited and will have to shake off the rust.

It is a lot like chasing fool’s gold (I really have no idea what fool’s gold is, the closest I can come to is Texas Tea which is oil. Thank you Jud Clampett). We tend to want to believe that a player’s first game back means he will return right where he left off. Name the last player that actually accomplished this.

Don’t take this the wrong way. If anyone can make something happen like this, it is Johan. I still have very fond thoughts of a particular game he threw with a torn meniscus. The pragmatic side of my brain keeps telling me that was his knee, not his throwing shoulder.

Favorites & Frustrations

August 4, 2010

The game of baseball provides numerous opportunities (162 to be exact) to observe your favorite team in action.

As many of you can relate, you tend to pick up on a thing or two that you love about your team, and a thing or two that drives you crazy.

I took the time to think of a few of our favorite things to see while watching the Mets, along with some of the must frustrating things. Here are a few in no particular order:

FAVORITES

* The Jose Reyes Triple.
* SNY’s Gary Cohen’s home run call “It’s outta here!”
* The Jeff Francoeur muskrat look when he hits a home run.
* Getting to call Henry Blanco “Hank White” (it never gets old).
* Watching Angel Pagan run the bases (a frustration in 2009).
* David Wright driving the ball to the opposite field.
* David Wright driving the ball into the left field stands.
* The Jerry Manuel clap when he argues with an umpire (I have no idea why, but I love it when he does that)
* Johan Santana telling Jerry Manuel to go back to the dugout (I know this only happened once this season, but it was so great that it made the list).
* Ike Davis flying over the first base dugout railing as he catches a foul ball.
* Anytime Chris Carter gets an at bat. You get to say “The Animal”.

FRUSTRATIONS

* Stretches when Jerry Manuel thinks the only reliever in the bullpen is Raul Valdes
* Oliver Perez warming up in the bullpen.
* The Jose Reyes pop up.
* Jeff Francouer swinging at the first pitch.
* The Jeff Francouer muskrat look when he pops up.
* Mike Pelfrey licking his fingers.
* Jason Bay flailing at an outside breaking ball.
* A Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* Another Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* The Luis Castillo slap chopper.
* Francisco Rodriguez insisting on putting at least two men on base during every appearance (mysteriously absent last night…).
* Giving up another home run to Chipper Jones or Pat Burrell

The Johan Santana Question No One Wants To Ask

June 27, 2010

Yesterday, Johan Santana had another rough outing, giving up five runs on eight hits in six innings pitched.

His recent “struggles” have been explained away as one of two things.

1.  He is a second half pitcher, he will be fine later in the season.

2.  This could be a physical issue involving his recovery from surgery last year or simply him getting older.

Should we be adding a third item to this list?

Normally, I am not the type of person to dig into an athlete’s personal life.  It is completely clear to me that they are human beings and suffer from the same faults and problems that you and I do.

Therefore, you won’t be reading about my judgments on what they do outside of the ballpark unless I feel it affects their play.

That being said, I think it is prudent to wonder if the recent issues with Santana’s personal life are effecting his ability to get hitter’s out.

Hear me out for a second.  Even accountants, teachers, lawyers, and police officers will tell you that their work can be affected if they are going through something stressful at home.

Baseball players are no different.

One of the thing’s that makes Johan so effective on the mound is his ability to focus.  You can see his intense concentration on every pitch.

If there is something going on that is making it difficult for him to have this intense concentration, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that this could be affecting his play?

Think about all of the times you have heard Ron Darling or any other baseball analyst talk about the complicated mechanics involved in being a big league pitcher?

The exact science involved in ensuring all of those moving parts operate in a manner optimal for success is astounding.

This concentration isn’t only needed in games.  Practice makes perfect, right?  So he needs this extreme focus when he does all of his side work as well.

Anything that deters him from this focus can be detrimental.

Maybe the recent outing of this issue is a necessary step for Johan to put this part of his life behind him so he can regain his focus.

Off Day Observations: Jennry Mejia, Johan Santana, and More

June 21, 2010

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I find that on off days I like to reevaluate where the Mets stand in the baseball world.

Even thought they haven’t played inspiring baseball in their last two games, the Mets have put themselves in a nice position this month.

They are 2.5 games behind the Braves in the East and are leading the Wild Card chase.

Wild Card Teams W L PCT GB E# L10 STRK
NY Mets 39 30 .565 - - 8-2 L2
LA Dodgers 38 30 .559 0.5 94 4-6 L3
San Francisco 38 30 .559 0.5 94 6-4 W1
Cincinnati 37 33 .529 2.5 91 3-7 L3
Philadelphia 35 32 .522 3.0 92 4-6 L2
Colorado 36 33 .522 3.0 91 6-4 L1

Honestly, how many of you truly thought they would be in this position on June 21st at the end of May?

I know the end of the Yankees series was disappointing, particularly offensively.  That being said, I don’t believe the Mets recent winning streak was an aberration.   I still feel confident about this team.

Expectations For The Upcoming Home Stand

There is cause for relief in the fact that the Mets will be returning to Citi Field where they own a 24-10 record.

The next six games will be no cake walk, however.  Detroit and Minnesota are a combined 78-59.  They are fighting each other for first place in the AL Central and have established themselves as perennial playoff contenders.

It is time my friends.  We need to raise our expectations a bit.

Based on the fact that the Amazin’s play outstanding at home and they are a confident bunch, I expect the Mets to go 4-2 on this home stand.

Jennry Mejia Down, Bobby Parnell Up

Last week,  I wrote about Mejia and how he was being developed on the major league roster.

Apparently, those lessons have been learned and the Mets have decided its time to lengthen him out and have him develop his secondary pitches in the minors.

Bobby Parnell will take his place even though he hasn’t exactly burned it up in Buffalo.  He comes to the Mets with a 4.24 ERA in 40.1 innings.

The Mejia situation is another example of why the Mets appear to be without a plan when it comes to certain situations.

Is this a case of Jerry Manuel holding on to him as long as he could until Omar Minaya finally said enough?

It’s not like Mejia’s role has changed over the last few weeks.  Why now?  A complete head scratcher in my book.

Here’s what everyone involved had to say on the matter:

Jennry Mejia
I’m going down, but I don’t have to put my head down, because I’m going to continue to work hard.  I don’t think they’re sending me down because I didn’t do my job.
Omar Minaya
He has a focus, he knows what he wants to do and he knows where he wants to get.  He sees himself as a starter down the line.
Jerry Manuel
We felt that the development and the progression had leveled off here.  It was a tremendous experience for him and he did everything we asked, but we felt to get him to the next level he needs to pitch on a regular basis and work on a regular basis.

What’s Going On With Johan?

I have to admit, I am  baffled on what to think about Johan Santana.

I am officially on the fence folks.

Normally, when I am in this spot my heart and my head are at odds with one another.

My heart wants to believe in Johan so it agrees with Jerry Manuel’s assessment,

He’s historically been a second-half pitcher. I think he’s starting to gear up for that.  That’s been his history, but I’ll take what he’s been giving us. I still see a guy that competes.

My head is telling me that Johan is starting to show signs of decline.

Normally, I try not to read other blogs while I am in the middle of writing a post.  I don’t want them to influence what I see.  My normal operating procedure has me reading other work when I am finished posting.

As far as the Johan situation is concerned, I deviated from the norm.  In this case, my heart was fighting with my head.  It was telling me to look for ways to explain Johan’s decline.

Instead,  I found an excellent post that actually summed up my head’s perspective.  Sorry heart.

Tom Greenhalgh from The (Happy?) Recap wrote yesterday how he no longer expects greatness when Johan takes the mound.  He just hopes for a win.

Santana’s fastball has lost velocity. Therefore when he throws his change up, the differential in speed is smaller. The result? Unless he has pinpoint control, swings and misses are far and few between. Couple that with the fact that he hasn’t been compensating for his lack of “stuff” with great control, and you get statistics like this:
In his last four starts, Johan Santana has struck out a grand total of ten batters.

If my head’s perspective is correct, than what is the cause?

Is it simply the fact that Santana is getting older?  Could it be that he is still not completely recovered from his surgery?

Will it be heart or will it be head?  Only the second half of the season will tell.


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