NY Sports Dog: Good Morning Johan Santana (Mets) Fans!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good Morning Johan Santana (Mets) Fans!

It was the best of times, it was the best of times.

Johan Santana, the Ace, took the mound yesterday with a singular purpose--to get a win. The fact that he accomplished his mission in such an utterly dominant fashion was not in the least bit surprising.

The results, a 3-hit shutout in which all 3 hits were singles, delivered in 113 crisp pitches (85 for strikes), is testament to how good he really is.

Want more? He threw a first pitch strike to 26 of the 31 batters he faced. Catcher Brian Schneider said Johan shook him off 5 times, and a few of those were decoys.

Still need more? In August he is 2-0 in 4 starts with a 1.84 ERA, and 23 Ks in 29.1 innings. This after going 2-0 in July with a 2.65 ERA.

So while the rest of the league gets weaker, Johan Santana, Brandon Webb and CC Sabathia get stronger. This is why they are aces, this is why the Mets needed Santana, and this is why he is invaluable to the club.

Think of the tertiary effects of his start--the Mets are in the middle of a streak of 23 games in 23 days--the closer is on the shelf, and guys are tired. When your Ace goes out and pitches a shutout you essentially give 2/3rds of the team the day off. He made it easy--gave everyone a mental and physical blow--he dominated.

"I wanted to give the guys out there a break," Santana said. "That's why I'm happy I pitched the complete game. That it was shutout, too ... that's better."

"It was actually kind of boring out there, it made for great watching," Aaron Heilman said.

"He was very adamant about going back out for the ninth," Manuel said. "Which is a good thing. When you can, you like to reward them for all the other times we've had to take them out."

"It's always good when you give your team and your bullpen a break," said Santana, the only Met with a complete game in 2008. "More than anything, that's what I was trying to do. And as you go in the game, and then you see how everything is coming along, I was just trying to do my job."

Trust us Johan, you did your job and then some.

Well the Mets sure are playing some good ball under Jerry Manuel now, aren't they? He seems to push the right buttons, rest guys when they need it, communicate well, and get the guys to play hard for him. Leadership is either the most overrated or underrated part of an organizational hierarchy, depending on who you talk to.

Is it important in big league baseball? Is Jerry a better leader than Willie? We'll never really know, but what we do know is that for this year, the results speak for themselves:

The leadership question: Have the Mets responded to Jerry leadership style?
Willie and Jerry: 2008



Willie Randolph
Jerry Manuel

Not to look ahead, but there sure are some interesting games coming up in the remainder of August. Day game today against Pittsburgh with John Maine on the hill, then it's back to Shea for some home cooking against the Braves and the Astros. The it's straight to Philly for our final two road games against our rivals, FINALLY a day off, then on to Florida to play the fish.

Our good friends at CoolStandings show the Mets remaining opponents:

2008 Remaining Schedule
vs. Team PCT H A Tot
ChiCubs .613 4 0 4
Milwaukee .568 0 3 3
Philadelphia .532 3 2 5
Florida .512 3 3 6
Houston .508 4 0 4
Atlanta .452 6 3 9
Pittsburgh .444 0 1 1
Washington .352 2 4 6
TOTAL .488 22 16 38

Not a bad looking schedule, though to be fair, the Phillies have one that looks pretty similar.

All in all the Mets have rebounded well from some early season turmoil and are right where they want to be--first place with their destiny in their own hands.

This, my friends, is why they play the games. This is why we're Mets fans. This is what baseball is all about.

Enjoy your coffee!

N.Y. Mets (68-56) «0201010004101
Pittsburgh (55-69)000000000032
Players of the Game
New York

B. Schneider
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

New York

J. Santana
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 0
K 7

New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS5010000 .304
Argenis Reyes, 2B4030000 .280
Damion Easley, 3B5010003 .265
Carlos Delgado, 1B4000114 .257
Carlos Beltran, CF4221013 .272
Daniel Murphy, LF3110101 .415
Endy Chavez, LF0000000 .272
Fernando Tatis, RF4000025 .296
Brian Schneider, C3123100 .259
Johan Santana, P4000015 .140

HR - Carlos Beltran (17, Karstens), Brian Schneider (4, Karstens)
SH - Argenis Reyes (3)
RBI - Carlos Beltran (82), Brian Schneider 3 (25)
2-OUT RBI - Brian Schneider (9)
Team LOB - 9
E - Jose Reyes (14, Misplayed grounder)
New York Mets
Johan Santana (W,11-7) 9300070 2.75
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 113-85
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 9-12
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 31

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