Rocked By The Dodgers
Santana, a 33-year-old lefty, allowed six runs in three innings of work in a tilt against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 20, the first time in his career that he's allowed six runs or more in three straight starts.
It was a mess from the get-go, as Santana was chased from the game before the fourth inning after walking three, and scattering seven hits, including two homers.
Santana came into the game on the heels of a start on July 6 against the Chicago Cubs, where he tied a career-worst mark by allowing 13 hits. His velocity is still there, but it's clear that something isn't quite right about him since the no-hitter.
Did Collins Make The Right Decision?
New York Mets manager Terry Collins wondered aloud at the post-game press conference on June 1 if he made the right decision to let Santana throw 135 pitches after missing all of last season while recovering from shoulder surgery, and he has to be even more of an emotional wreck now that his ace has fallen apart.
"You don't want to ruin the organization," Collins said after Santana's no-hitter was etched into the history books. "But it was going to be his call. All the way. At the end, he was going on pure adrenaline. We'll have to just see where he is five days from now."
There's no doubt that Collins was in an incredibly tough spot that night, and every Mets fan would have ripped him if he took Santana out and the no-hitter was broken up.
After all, we waited over 8,000 games for our one night of glory, and there was no way we were going to let Jon Rauch or Bobby Parnell ruin it by allowing a fluke hit on Santana's special night.
But now, less than two months later, you wonder if Collins' cryptic comments following the game was the foretelling of a nightmarish end of the season for the Mets.
Mets Go As Santana Goes
Most MLB teams go as their aces go, and the Mets are no different. When Santana is throwing well, the team seems to be winning, and the wheels are starting to spin out of control now that their star pitcher is up against the ropes.
It's easy to see the correlation between Santana's no-hitter and his immediate decline in performance after it. Santana was in All-Star form in April, and his no-hitter on June 1 dropped his ERA to 2.38.
Since that special night, Santana allowed four or more runs in five of his eight starts. Is it wrong to blame Santana's poor performance on the fact that Collins let him throw 134 pitches to complete the no-hitter?
No one can say for sure, but the difference in performance pre and post "No-han" is too stark to chock up to pure coincidence. In my view, his arm is probably just starting to get worn down after surpassing the 100-inning plateau, as he didn't pitch at all in 2011.
Will Santana ever be the ace he was prior to the June 1 no-hitter? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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