Johan Santana is showing the New York Mets he can do it all. Now, he hopes the weather will allow him to get a second chance to show the fans at Shea Stadium he’s worth the richest contract signed by a pitcher.
After being booed off the mound in his home debut, the ace will try to redeem himself Tuesday night when the Mets face the Pittsburgh Pirates, a day after their three-game series opener was rained out.
Santana (3-2, 3.12 ERA) signed a $137.5 million, six-year contract after he was acquired from Minnesota for four prospects this winter, but struggled through his first start at Shea for the Mets (13-11). The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner gave up five runs and six hits with seven strikeouts, but also served up a season-high three homers in a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on April 12. He was pulled after the last homer and was booed on the way to the dugout.
“I’ve seen it before,” Santana told the team’s official Web site after the loss. “That’s not the first time I’ve seen it happen to a home player. We’re not perfect. I wish we could do everything the way everybody wants, but we are human beings. We’re going to make mistakes sometimes.”
Santana rebounded from that lackluster outing by winning his next two starts - both on the road. The three-time All-Star was terrific in his last start on Wednesday, allowing two runs and seven hits - none after the fourth inning - with four strikeouts in seven innings of a 7-2 win at Washington.
“It’s just one of those days where everything works out for you,” said Santana, who also had the second two-hit game of his career with two doubles.
Santana hoped for another strong outing on Monday against the Pirates (10-15), but rain postponed that contest until Aug. 11. On Tuesday, the weather at Shea is expected to be 56 degrees and partly cloudy with a 10-percent chance of rain.
The rainout also means the Mets’ rotation is being pushed back a day, except for Nelson Figueroa’s scheduled start on Sunday at Arizona, which will be skipped in favor of Santana.
Santana has only made one career start against the Pirates, a win for the Twins on June 18, 2006.
He’ll try to help New York to a three-game winning streak after it beat Atlanta 6-3 on Sunday to take the three-game set. The Mets beat the Braves 4-3 on Saturday after losing five of six.
Carlos Delgado turned boos into a standing ovation Sunday, hitting two solo homers in two at-bats following a 4-for-46 slump over the previous 13 games. The first baseman hadn’t hit a homer since getting his first of the season in a loss in the home opener to Philadelphia on April 8.
The Mets went 4-2 against the Pirates last season, winning two of three matchups at Shea to improve to 5-1 in the last six meetings there.
The Pirates, coming off Sunday’s 5-1 victory over Philadelphia that halted a three-game slide, give the ball to Ian Snell (2-1, 4.45), who would like to get off to a strong start.
The right-hander gave up four runs - all in the first inning - and eight hits in six innings before Pittsburgh rallied for a 7-4 win over St. Louis on Wednesday.
“That first inning, my mechanics - I was rushing myself and got out of control,” Snell said. “The next five, I just stayed focused. I could have easily gave up and just threw in the towel, but (Matt Morris) talked to me and settled me down.”
Snell, who is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts against New York, won’t have Morris to help him Monday after the Pirates released the veteran right-hander, who was 0-4 with a 9.67 ERA in five starts.
Snell hasn’t fared well in two starts at Shea, going 0-1 while allowing nine runs and 17 hits while striking out 14 in 9 2-3 innings.