Johan Santana: The One Unchanging Variable

Michael GanciCorrespondent IApril 24, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 18:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 18, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets won the game 1-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

It is not every day that your team is about to play after losing two straight games and you just know they are going to win. Never in my life, in fact, do I remember a player that is so certain for success as Johan Santana. He just has this aura about him. Maybe because it has been so long since the Mets have had that dynamic ace. I was to young to appreciate Doc Gooden in his hay day. And I wasn’t born early enough to appreciate Tom Seaver’s Hall of Fame performances. A gem like Santana doesn’t come around every day.

Santana’s one run allowed on Friday night actually made his ERA jump up to .70 on the season. I know it isn’t going to stay there, but Santana is a notoriously slow starter. He posts CY Young numbers every season, but now, if he avoids a slow start, his numbers can be inhuman. Going into tonight’s game, Santana led the National League in strikeouts, ERA, and batting average against. Before tonight, righties were hitting just .120 against him, and he may be the number one pitcher in the game. Even with the budding of phenom Tim Lincecum, Santana is the most consistent pitcher in baseball.

Lincecum has a bad game every once in a while, but he may be as good as Santana when his game is at its best. There’s something that worries me about the youngster. How about his delivery? I think he is an injury waiting to happen, but until that moment comes, he is among the elite, but I would rather have Santana.

He is a rock. He is the stopper, and the Mets wish he could go every day. It’s certainly a pleasure to watch every time he takes the hill. I think people sometimes take him for granted. It really is an art form how he pitches, and I think people need to consider what the team would be like without him…exactly.