Mets Face Unfamiliar Foe in Cleveland, a Team Johan Santana Knows All Too Well

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Mets Face Unfamiliar Foe in Cleveland, a Team Johan Santana Knows All Too Well
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The last time the New York Mets played the Cleveland Indians in Ohio, George W. Bush was in his second year of office, Emma Watson and Caroline Wozniacki weren’t even teenagers, and Sammy Sosa was still bla…no, whi…no. Never mind.

In fact, the last time the Mets played in Cleveland was the first time the Mets played in Cleveland. Heck, it was the first time they had played Cleveland.

The scheduling Gods have only ever pitted the Mets against the Indians six times across two series, even though the two clubs have played more than 24,000 combined games in their joint history. The first time they met came in 2002, and the second was two years later at Shea Stadium in 2004.

There is only one team the Mets have played fewer times than the Indians and that is the White Sox, who they have played just three times.

The Mets have won both series against Cleveland—both 2-1—and they will look to maintain their momentum against the 25-37 Indians following a three-game sweep of the Orioles tonight with Johan Santana on the hill.

In the six games these clubs have played, only one game has been determined by one run. The two games the Mets have lost have been by the scores of 8-3 and 9-1. Don’t expect a repeat of that today.

Santana has faced the Indians more than any other team in his career (30), but he won’t exactly have great memories about facing his old AL Central nemesis.

He picked up the loss in four of his last five outings against the Tribe, including an 11-strikeout performance in May 2007 where the Twins lost 2-0. No run support for Johan? Sound familiar?

Still, you have to feel pretty confident as a Mets fan going into this one. Even though Santana gave up four runs against the Padres last time out, he has been spectacular over the last month, posting a 1.91 ERA in seven starts since the blowout in Philly. Over those seven games he recorded five consecutive starts with two earned runs or fewer. On three occasions he kept his opponents—Florida, Milwaukee, and San Diego—off the board completely.

It's going to be a familiar Santana squaring off with a familiar foe, even if the names on the fronts and backs of the jerseys have changed.

No current member of the Indians with more than four at-bats against Santana have hit better than .167 against him, and only Travis Hafner has more than one extra-base hit against the southpaw.

Feel for Johnny Peralta though who is 3-for-28 lifetime (.107) with 22 strikeouts against Santana. He has fanned 20 times in his last 23 at-bats against him. He has only sat out three games this season, but tonight might be a good idea to make that four.

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