The starting pitching had to let down at some point this season. It’s virtually impossible to keep up the pace.
Mike Pelfrey got the fun started, giving up six runs in the fourth inning on Saturday en route to a 10-0 loss, the first loss for the Mets in eight games.
Things only got worst on Sunday when Johan Santana put up his worst effort in his time with the Mets, as he gave up 10 runs in less than four innings pitched.
The damage came quickly for Johan, who gave up two solo home runs in the bottom of the first inning after getting three runs of support in the top half of the inning off a David Wright home run.
Rod Barajas added two insurance runs in the top of the fourth with another home run, but Santana seemed to fall apart in the bottom half of that inning.
The inning started innocently enough, with a Chase Utley double followed by two quick outs.
Back-to-back singles scored Utley as Santana found himself with two on and two out with the bottom of the Phillies lineup coming to bat.
He pitched around the No. 8 hitter, catcher Carlos Ruiz, to load the bases. It seemed innocent enough with pitcher Jamie Moyer, who is staying in baseball until his Social Security kicks in, on deck.
As Moyer’s at-bat progressed, it became apparent that the Mets starter was having control issues, and the previous at-bat may have been a miscue instead of a pitch-around.
Santana fell behind 3-1 and missed badly on ball four to force in a run. It was disastrous, but things only got worse.
The next seven pitches Johan threw to batters Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco, and Chase Utley led to six runs on two home runs with a single sandwiched in between.
Now I’m well aware of the fact that Johan Santana is an ace, and he’s earned the right to try to pitch himself out of trouble.
If Oliver Perez was on the mound and walked the pitcher with the bases loaded, I’m sure he would have been pulled before throwing another pitch.
The problem I have with Jerry Manuel’s decision making last night handling Santana is not that he left him in after the bases-loaded walk. It was that he left him in after Victorino’s grand slam.
The Phillies lineup has won two consecutive National League titles feeding off starting pitcher’s mistakes, and Santana clearly did not have his best stuff last night.
Why not save him the humiliation of trying to get the last out of the inning?
Are you trying to save the bullpen at the expense of your ace’s pride?
It doesn’t make any sense...
All that aside, the Mets are still okay right?
Sure, they lost two games to the Phillies, and I’d rather lose to anyone else, but it was only two games.
The fact that they got outscored 21-5 in the last two games doesn’t mean anything. The only numbers that matter are the zero wins and two losses that post to the standings.
It’s May, and the Mets are 14-11 and only a half-game out of first place. If someone told me that going into the season, I would have called them crazy.
What we need to worry about are the three games left on the road trip against the Cincinnati Reds.
Taking this series and going home with at least a 3-3 record on the road should be considered a success considering how well the Mets have been playing at home.
I’ll never be called an optimistic Mets fan, so don’t let this post fool you. All I’m saying is a bad start by your ace is not the end of the world.
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