Johan Santana Tries to Play Stopper Against Phillies In Southpaw Battle

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Johan Santana Tries to Play Stopper Against Phillies In Southpaw Battle
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA-- The Mets had a grasp on last night's opener against the Phillies, but couldn't secure the final six outs. With that, they fell below the .500 mark for the first time since May 23rd.

They must win the final two games of this series to even be considered a contender down the stretch.

In reality, the Mets are cooked in 2010. But, if you want to spin it from a homeristic point of view, you can say "Ya Gotta Believe." After all, that phrase worked for the Mets 37 years ago.

Think about this: in 1973, the Mets were 49-60 through 109 games; the 2010 Mets are five better. That team was 10.5 games behind, further behind where this year's Mets are.

The 1973 Mets' 109th game was also played on August 6. Final result: National League champions; lost game seven of the World Series. Thus the phrase "Ya Gotta Believe."

Now, how can the Mets make such a run like the one of the Miracle Mets? Right now, they look lifeless, shot, without any confidence.

The Mets need to start streaking tonight, and they will have Johan Santana on the mound. Their ace has not been dominant though lately.

Over Santana's last two starts, he's allowed nine first-inning runs. In his last start against the Braves to begin the road trip, he did strike out 11, but gave up four runs and nine hits. The Mets offense didn't show up and they lost, 4-1.

Will Santana pitch better in Philly this time around?

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This would be the worst time of year for Santana to fatigue. The Mets are not going anywhere or channeling their inner 1973 if Santana fades off. It seems right now as if he is fatiguing.

Teams are trying to get to Santana early in counts, especially in the first inning. He has no velocity on his fastball, thus there's no differential between it and his change-up.

The last time Santana pitched in Philadelphia back on May 2nd, he suffered a career-worst start. That was on a Sunday night in May. Tonight, he must step up on a crucial Saturday night in August. Although he is a 31-year-old veteran, you just hope that start doesn't get to him at any point in the game.

The Phillies will be pitching their left-handed ace, Cole Hamels. He may be playing third-fiddle on a team that has a couple of Roy's on top, but he is back to being the "good" Cole Hamels.

After bursting on to the seen back in 2006, Hamels put together two consecutive quality seasons in 2007 and 2008. He went 29-15 over that time, and won both NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008.

Last season, he declined, and seemed mentally drained. He had a losing record and pitched to a high ERA by his standards.

This season, he has rebounded back into old form. He's only 7-7 but that's due to the lack of run support. His one bugaboo has been the long ball, as he's given up 21 home runs in 139 innings pitched.

He received a no-decision in his last start against the Nationals in a Phillies victory. In seven innings, he allowed four runs on six hits, he walked none, and struck out ten.

After last night's Mets loss, it was reported that top prospects Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada were scratched from their minor league game.

Sources say Martinez may be dealt to the Seattle Mariners, while Tejada could potentially replace Luis Castillo if he were traded as well.

The Mets will try to beat the Phillies and get back on track tonight, with Santana looking for some revenge.

Johan Santana vs. Philadelphia (May 2)
Loss, 3.2 IP, 10 ER, 8 hits, 2 BB, 1 SO, 4 HR

Cole Hamels vs. New York (May 27)
Loss, 6.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 9 hits, 1 BB, 3 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Philadelphia)
April 30: New York 9, Philadelphia 1
May 1: Philadelphia 10, New York 0
May 2: Philadelphia 11, New York 5

May 25: New York 8, Philadelphia 0
May 26: New York 5, Philadelphia 0
May 27: New York 3, Philadelphia 0

August 6th: Philadelphia 7, New York 5
Mets lead series 4-3

 

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