New York Mets, Johan Santana Trying To Take Series from Cardinals

Sammy Makki@sammymetsfanAnalyst IJuly 28, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 18:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets pitches against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 18, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Mets shockingly blasted Cardinals' ace Adam Wainwright last night, and continued to prove they have a significant home-field advantage.

The Mets have the right pitching matchups on hand over the next two days to do some damage if they can hit like last night.

Tonight, the Mets will have their ace Johan Santana on the mound, trying to win the series and give the Mets a shot to sweep on Thursday.

It may be getting carried away, but Santana has been ultra impressive of late, and it'll be R.A. Dickey against a marginal reliever in Blake Hawksworth on Thursday, so a sweep isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Focusing on tonight's game, the Mets will try to knock around another impressive Cardinals starter, rookie Jaime Garcia.

The Mets won just two games on their 11-game West Coast trip, and both were games Santana started. He was credited with the win in one of them.

Santana has made five starts in the month of July, and has lowered his ERA in each of them.

His last start came on Friday against the Dodgers, a game dominated by Mets defense which was highlighted by Jason Bay's face plant into the left field fence.

Santana pitched seven innings, allowing one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out four. The performance earned him his eighth win of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.79.

Overall in his five July starts, Santana is 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA, and opposing batters are hitting just .199 against him.

The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia, who has pitched phenomenally this season after missing all of 2009 due to Tommy John surgery.

Garcia was a 22nd-round pick of the Cardinals in 2005, and made his Major League debut in 2008. After appearing in 10 games that season and having a rough go of it, Garcia had elbow surgery, and made the team this season.

On June 22, Garcia was 7-3 with a 1.79 ERA, stunning everyone across Major League Baseball. His ERA jumped a little after that due to a poor start against the Royals on June 27.

He was sharp in his last start against the Phillies though, giving up one run and four hits in seven innings.

He did make a start against the Mets in St. Louis on April 17, which turned out to be one of the more memorable games in Mets and Cardinals history.

After Garcia held the Mets hitless through the first five innings, the game would go on another 15 innings, with the Mets winning, 2-1 in 20.

The Mets have now used 12 different lineups in each of their last 12 games. They will most likely go with the same one tonight, with Jason Bay sidelined due to a mild concussion, and Rod Barajas out due to an oblique injury.

If the Mets can start hitting consistently with a lineup full of stars and veterans, they may be able to resurrect their season, especially if they can go on a run during this homestand.

Through all the troubles the Mets just went through on the road, they are now 31-16 at home. The Mets will try to put together a little streak starting tonight at Citi Field.

Johan Santana vs. St. Louis (April 17)
ND, 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 hits, 1 BB, 9 SO

Jaime Garcia vs. New York (April 17)
ND, 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 BB, 5 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. St. Louis)

April 16: St. Louis 4, New York 3
April 17: New York 2, St. Louis 1 (20)
April 18: St. Louis 5, New York 3

July 27: New York 8, St. Louis 2

Series tied 2-2