A Metszilla Observation: Johan Santana and The Pitch Count

Metszilla.comCorrespondent IJune 13, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 10:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets leaves the game in the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres on June 10, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

115……in some ways an arbitrary number, but when considered in terms of a pitch count, it’s a number that  many would agree is relatively high (except maybe Dusty Baker ).  Many Met fans, including myself, have been critical of Jerry Manuel’s apparent fascination with the pitch count.  The voices of Jerry’s critics have likely been loudest watching him pull Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana during outings in which they were seemingly at their best late in the game.  Johan’s 8 inning, 105 pitch effort in Milwaukee (which ended with a Corey "The Metsecutioner" Hart walk-off HR off Ryota Igarashi in a 9th inning that many felt Santana should have been pitching) is probably Manuel's most ‘unpopular’ decision.

But what if……just what if….Jerry knows something we don’t.  What if those glasses he wears are for reading and not purely decoration.  A radical theory, I know, but perhaps less so after reading on.

In his last start Johan Santana pitched 6 2/3 innings while allowing 4 runs and striking out only 1.  How was that possible from a pitcher who, in his previous 5 starts, sported a 0.74 ERA in 36 2/3 IP while striking out 22?  The resulting loss to San Diego was the least of many fans’ worries.  Instead of chalking it to a bad day at the office some felt it warranted deeper discussion and a more adequate explanation.  Was it the fact that there was a rain delay and his routine was thrown off with an extra day of rest, as Jerry Manuel explained?  Could be.  Is he a huge soccer fan and was simply too jazzed up about this weekend's World Cup kickoff to stay focused on the mound?   Doubt it.  But maybe there is a deeper answer after all.

Johan’s has thrown 115 or more pitches only twice this season, on 4/27 (115) and 6/2 (123, season high).    His subsequent starts were....TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HEAD OVER TO METSZILLA.COM BY CLICKING HERE:  http://www.metszilla.com/?p=1229