Carlos Santana Gives New York Yankees "Nowhere to Run"

Brian HegtCorrespondent IMay 16, 2008

The good news that any Yankee fan will take away from this article that Carlos Santana is a musician and not a pitcher who will take the mound in his first subway series tonight.

The bad news is that Johan Santana is. The Mets’ new ace looks like he is starting to find his stride in the national league. In his last start, Santana, in only five-and-a-third innings, threw 115 pitches.

However, on his 114th pitch, he was able to reach back and zip the ball to the plate at 97 mph. The pitch was slightly high, but this showed that Santana has a reserve that he can tap into in a tight spot.

Yes, Mets’ fans do expect Santana to be throwing more than five-and-a-third innings, but anyone who truly understands the strategy side of baseball knows that when a team's ace is on the mound, it gives off a different energy.

In addition, a true quality of an ace, like Santana is that he can find a way to win even if he doesn't have his best stuff on the hill. Santana was able to do this and is hoping to carry his good fortune over to his start tonight. 

Santana, who is widely regarded as baseball's best pitcher, signed a lucrative long term deal with the Mets this past offseason. As many remember, the Yankees finished second in the Johan Santana bidding war.

This presents itself as an interesting match up.

Is this the fuel that the Yankees need to jump start themselves?

Or can it be argued that Johan has not shown how dominant he can be in the national league yet because he does not know the hitters as well as he knew the American League ones?

If this is the case, Johan knows many of these Yankee hitters quite well, and he knows that they don't like seeing him 60 feet six inches away from him. 

Both teams have greatly underachieved this season and know that a decisive series win this weekend could be the needed catalyst.

As many around the game know, these two teams both elevate their levels of play during these two series every year. 

Tonight, the Yanks combat Santana with Darryl Rasner, who is 2-0 in his starts since being recalled from Columbus.

Tomorrow Oliver Perez, who was lights out in his last start but awful in his prior two starts, takes the hill against Andy Pettite who looked terrible in his last start in Tampa.

Finally, the rubber match features John Maine who has won his last four starts against Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees’ ace. This final rubber match is by far the most intriguing of the series. 

The Mets have lost three of their last four, and the Yanks also have lost three of their last four dating back into the end of the Detroit series.