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Twin Chilling

Johan Santana, you cost us the 2007 NL East.

But we'll welcome you to New York anyway.

My flawed logic is based on the idea that had the Mets beaten Santana, rather than suffered a rather humiliating, 9-0 defeat last June 19, they would have won 89 games, instead of 88, and thus finished in a first-place tie.

There are certain things I learned about Santana that put him back in my good graces, though.

* He persevered: While things were super-rosy for the 2000 Mets, they were anything but for Santana. The first nine games in which Santana pitched, a year after being nabbed as a Rule V draft pick (and subsequently dealt to the Twins), he lost. On June 6, Santana earned his first major-league win, although I'll admit I considered striking that victory from your record when I learned it came against Jose Lima. In that first season, Santana pitched in 30 games. The Twins lost 28. Santana posted a 6.49 ERA. Apparently he got a lot better since then.

* He throws harder than ol' whatshisname: Wow, an ace lefthander who rather than nibble, nibble, nibble, and throws a changeup that can't be mistaken for his fastball. I'd forgotten that such a thing existed after spending the last five years in the company of another. And a stat to remember: Santana has never had a start in his MLB career in which he allowed seven runs in one-third of an inning.

* Good karma follow him when he faces the Braves: Santana's start prior to beating up the Mets came against the Braves. He pitched well, allowing two runs in seven innings, but the best thing about that day was that the Braves suffered greatly. The Twins rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth (aided by a Yunel Escobar error) to win via walk-off, 3-2. "We won the game, and that's all we were looking for," Santana told the media after the game.

Sounds good. Just the kind of thing we've been waiting for in these parts.

You might also enjoy reading this article, which I wrote prior to his last start against the Mets.

http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2007/06/twin-thrilling.htm

True Methans know...Johan Santana ranks fifth all-time in strikeouts per nine innings, averaging 9.497 (per Baseball-Reference). The Mets have had three other pitchers who are ranked in the top 10: Pedro Martinez (3rd, 10.199), Nolan Ryan (4th 9.548), and Hideo Nomo (t-10th, 8.74).

Comments

Emma said…
I'm trying not to think about how, if you look at it that way, Tyler Clippard, David Wells, and Mike Bacsik also each cost the Mets the NL East. That way lies madness.

Still, I'm glad to learn that Jose Lima did something good in this world, however inadvertently.

Finally: Hideo Nomo? Really?
Anonymous said…
I don't think this assures anything. The Phils are a strong club. But if Santana pitches the way he has the last five years and if Sanchez comes back strong, the Mets have an excellent chance to book at least a wild card. A postseason berth means anything can happen, which would be a nice way to spend the final season at Shea.
-- JerseyMetsFan
Mike S said…
Recently found this blog and, as a stats-loving Mets fan, have really enjoyed going back and reading the archived posts. Like most fans, I'm optimistic about the positive effects that the Santana trade will have, although I'm still a little scared of the fragile nature of many of those being counted on in both the lineup and rotation. I don't know if it's possible to be a Mets fan and not be a little pessimistic, though. ;)

For fans of stats, you might want to check out the terrific blog, 88 Topps Card, in which one of the contributors at Baseball-Reference.com has been chronicling the 1988 Topps set with statistical facts and oddities about each player. Several Mets have already been featured, including Dave Magadan and Howard Johnson.

http://88topps.blogspot.com/2008/01/85-howard-johnson.html

Keep up the good work, guys. Can't wait to follow along once the season starts!

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