Johan Santana would have become the ace of the Yankees after the 2007 season, if the club agreed to include Phil Hughes in a proposed trade with the Twins. The Yanks at the time overvalued Hughes, and the deal fell through.
Now, Santana leads the Mets. On Sunday the left—hander took a historic beating in the Bronx. He allowed nine earned runs for the first time in his career in a Yankees’ 15—0 romp.
Santana allowed nine earned runs on nine hits in three plus innings and saw his ERA soar from 2.39 to 3.29.
Santana’s major problem on Sunday was a lack of velocity. His fastballs hit only 89—90 mph on the radar gun. That didn’t provide enough of a contrast with his vaunted change-up.
When Santana throws his fastball 10—15 mph faster than his changeup from the same release point, he looks like the two—time Cy Young Award winner he is.
However, the fastball was not there Sunday and Santana got bombed.
Since Santana failed to put away batters when he had two strikes in the count, because he failed to get the final out in an inning without allowing runs in the second and third, and because he served up a long two—run homer to Hideki Matsui in the third, reporters asked him if he was healthy.
Santana, who is8—4, insisted he was fine physically. In his last seven starts, he's 4—2 with a 6.50 ERA. In his first six starts, he went 4—2 with a 0.78 ERA.
The loss to the Yanks was his earliest departure from a start not delayed by rain since a May 23, 2004 loss to the White Sox.
If Santana stays on his normal pitching schedule, he would miss the Yankees in a three game series at Citi Field. He’s scheduled to face the Cardinals on June 25th, which is the day before the Yankees visit Queens.
Emotions always run high in the Subway Series.
Just ask Mets' relief ace, Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez and Yankees’ reliever Brian Bruney. They had to be separated in the outfield before today’s game after two days of verbal sparring in the media.
Don't be surprised if Santana, an immensely proud man, asks the Mets to manipulate the rotation and allow him to face the Yankees on June 26th.
There's no guarantee that Santana will avenge his loss to the Yanks, but there seems no doubt that he will want to.