Johan Santana was rocked by the Braves last night, giving up six runs (four of them earned) over 1.1 innings, the shortest outing of his career. The fanbase panicked, voicing their concerns over Santana’s health on Twitter. Luckily, Santana insisted that he is alright and that there is no health concern at this point.
Now, I don’t think this was a good time for Santana to have “one of those days,” but I’m not going to panic yet. Remember a certain game three years ago in which he gave up nine runs to the Yankees in just three innings? How about the time he gave up 10 in 3.2 against the Phillies two years ago? These outings just happen with Johan. They are very, very infrequent, but are somewhat unavoidable. Last night, the Braves were working Johan to death with long at-bat after long at-bat. He became very predictable. His changeup, the pitch he relies on to carry him through games, lost its movement. These things just happen to a pitcher every once in a while.
As Santana explained in his post-game interview, this is a process. He is far from out of the woods yet. In fact, he may never be out of the woods. He had major surgery on his shoulder just last year. As Bobby Ojeda was explaining last night: he has to take it a day at a time, which he has. He was very open after the game, giving honest answers. He was disappointed that he couldn’t pitch well, but he also understands that this is a process. On some nights, he may not be 100%, and that may happen more frequently now after his surgery. On other nights, he may be able to go 115 to 120 pitches without a problem. You just never know how his shoulder is going to react on certain days.
Santana’s a fighter, however, which keeps me from looking too much into this past outing and hopeful for his next one. He knows his body more than anyone else and he is a very smart guy. If he were feeling discomfort or something went wrong, he knows that it would be best if he spoke up so he wouldn’t hurt his team. He has been open to the recover process so far, being honest every step of the way. That’s why I know he is alright. He’ll be back to the Johan we’ve all come to know and love in his next outing .