With the recent news from ESPN's Adam Rubin that Johan Santana may have to miss a start, I think it's fitting to examine Santana's performance in 2012. Clearly his no-hitter is the hallmark of this season for the New York Mets. He made history for a team that has featured some of the top pitchers in the history of the game, none of whom were able to do what he did.
However, since the magical night of June 1, when the course of history was changed, Johan Santana hasn't been the same. He threw 134 pitches that night, a mark no one thought was even remotely reachable coming into this season. Terry Collins was happy just to get five innings out of Santana on Opening Day. But there was no way he could mess with the former Cy Young winner on that Friday night.
Since the no-no, Johan has an ERA of 8.27. He's thrown over 100 pitches once and has lasted past the sixth inning once. So the question is: Should Mets fans look at the no-hitter differently now that the bottom has basically fallen out on Santana's season and he may need to be shut down?
Here's something most people probably don't know. In the start before the no-hitter, he threw a complete game, 95-pitch shutout against San Diego. Pair that start with the no-no and here's what you get:
Mike Rizzo would have a problem with those numbers, but Terry Collins didn't and I can't fault him for letting Johan go the distance. Still, Mets fans should be wondering if Santana's health gained the trust of Terry Collins too early in the season. If Johan thew six innings and 75 pitches against the Padres and then the no-hitter, Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins may not be discussing his future on August 21.
But it's silly to make up certain scenarios and predict the future.
As a Met fan, I ask myself this question: Would I rather see Johan Santana pitch a full season, or the first no-hitter in franchise history?
If this team played anywhere near their first-half selves in the second half, it would be a tough decision. However, I see no problem shelving Santana for the remainder of the season if his health doesn't allow him to go any further. The Mets will go nowhere with him in the rotation for an extra month.
As I type these words, I get an update on my phone saying the Mets have lost to the Colorado Rockies for the second straight night, increasing their sub-.500 mark to nine games.
Johan Santana being limited to 100 pitches, and not throwing a no-hitter on June first, wouldn't have made that number any lower.