The New York Mets won today behind the strong pitching performance of Johan Santana. Though Santana pitched well enough for a win, he didn't get it, as closer Francisco Rodriguez blew another save. Santana went eight strong, surrendering only one run on eight hits and one walk, while striking out five.
Personally, I had prayed that manager Jerry Manuel would let Santana come out for the ninth inning and finish the game out, but having thrown 115 pitches (81 for strikes, by the way), Santana got the handshake after retiring the last nine batters he faced.
Santana has continued his second half dominance, yet did not get another win. Unfortunately, Santana pitching a gem but not getting a win has become all too common, as his mediocre 7-5 record with a 2.87 ERA reflects.
During Santana's 20 starts in 2010, he has given up one run or less an amazing 12 times. Yet he has gotten a win during those 12 times—are you ready for this?—only six times. Half of the starts where he has given up only one run or less, he has not gotten a win.
That is unbelievable.
Johan Santana has to be one of the most unlucky pitchers in MLB right now, after hearing that statistic.
Santana's misfortune has been a product of both tremendously low run support and some shoddy bullpen work.
In all of baseball, only Roy Oswalt has received less run support this season amongst starting pitchers—and Oswalt plays on a terrible Astros team. Santana has received only 3.73 runs per game.
To compare, Phil Hughes has received the largest run support in the MLB—10.43 runs! And while Hughes has pitched a good year, his 11-2 record is very much a product of his run support.
Santana, on the other hand, has pitched as well if not better than Hughes, yet has four fewer wins and three more losses.
During Santana's starts, the bullpen has also blown four of the games. It must be disappointing for Santana, especially considering this is something that has been a little too common throughout his tenure in New York.
As optimistic as it is that Santana has returned to form during the second half—he has given up only two runs in his four July starts—I'm sure he would love to have something to show for it.
Poor run support and bad bullpen work is frustrating not only for Santana, but for the Mets and their fans. It definitely is a shame to be wasting Santana's gems as frequently as the Mets are.
I thought teams generally come to play their best while their aces are on the mount. I guess that isn't the case for the Mets. I hope they can learn from the past and bring their A game during the rest of Santana's starts in 2010, and get him the wins that he deserves.