Saturday, August 18, 2012

Santana's Recent Struggles Have the Mets At A Crossroads

"My season has been a roller coaster, a lot of ups and downs, good days, bad days," said Johan Santana after last night's 6-4 loss to the Nationals in which he became the first Mets pitcher to allow six runs or more in five consecutive starts. "We'll see the next couple of days what they have to say or what they are going to do."

On last night's edition of NY1's Sports on 1, host Kevin Garrity read my email in which I felt that Santana's struggles of late were due to the fact that his fastball and changeup were essentially the same pitch.

Throughout his career, Santana has lived and died by his ability to fool hitters with his changeup. For the changeup to be effective, Santana's fastball would have to hit around 93 mph not 90.  Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen would most likely agree. After last night's game, Warthen proclaimed that Santana was not in "terribly strong pitching shape" and that his rehabilitation which began in mid-December was starting to wear on the veteran left-hander.

"It's just a matter of building that arm strength up, because we saw a vintage Johan for three innings," Warthen said.

Santana held the Nationals batting order perfect through the first three innings until the bottom of the fourth when he surrendered three consecutive singles that was capped off by a grand slam home run by Michael Morse that put Washington up, 4-2.

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