Nationals 6, Mets 4: Johan Struggles Again, Raises More Injury Concerns

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Final Score: Nationals 6, Mets 4

Player of the Game: Scott Hairston- 3-for-4, 2 R

Goat of the Game: Johan Santana- 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 93 p. (63 strikes)

Tonight was supposed to be the night that we got out ace back. Johan Santana took the mound looking to stop one of the worst stretches of his career. Through three innings, it looked like back to his old self. However, things would quickly go down hill.

Santana was handed the lead in the first inning on a Daniel Murphy single off Nationals’ starter Ross Detwiler that scored David Wright and Scott Hairston. Early on, it looked like all Santana and the Mets would need. Santana was perfect through three innings until he ran into major trouble in the fourth inning. Santana gave up three consecutive hits to Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman, loading the bases for Michael Morse. Morse drilled a high fastball over the right field wall, giving Washington a 4-2 advantage. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Bryce Harper added on with a two-run home run of his own, making it 6-2 Washington.

Tonight was the fifth straight start for Santana in which he has given up at least six runs. In his last start at home against Atlanta, he gave up eight runs in just 1.1 innings in his first start back from the disabled list. The Mets should be very concerned with Santana right now. He’s never had a stretch like this in his career. It certainly isn’t “rust.” There must be some kind of health issue here. The history of the surgery Santana had to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder hasn’t been great. Very few pitchers have had the surgery, but the results haven’t been spectacular for those who’ve had it. Part of this may be Santana’s workload this season. He has already pitched 117 innings. That’s a heavy workload for someone who, before this year, hadn’t pitched in a big league game since early September 2010.

There were a few positives that fans can take away from this game, however, one of them being the fact that the Mets didn’t get shut out. After those two runs in the first, the Mets scored two more: one in the sixth on an RBI-groundout by Ronny Cedeno and another in the seventh on a home run by Kelly Shoppach, his first hit as a Met. The Mets almost came back in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard, getting two runners on for Ruben Tejada with two outs. However, Tejada couldn’t get the Mets any closer, flying out to center, ending the game and giving the Nationals a victory.

Notes:

  • David Wright collected two hits tonight, going 2-for-4 and raising his batting average to .322.
  • Manny Acosta pitched two scoreless innings for the Mets out of the bullpen tonight. He allowed one hit and walked two batters, but didn’t allow Washington to score. Ramon Ramirez also pitched a scoreless inning.
  • Some, when bringing up Johan Santana’s struggles recently, may bring up his no-hitter as one of the reasons for his struggles recently. However, Johan pitched well after his no-hitter. This has nothing to do with that. This is clearly either fatigue (Johan not being able to handle the workload yet) or something is wrong with his arm. The team should really consider shutting Santana, at least for now. Jeremy Hefner has been decent this year and could fill in for him in the rotation. Santana is going to be paid $25 million next season. He will be critical to the team’s success next season. He is a big asset that has to be protected.

UP NEXT: Game two of a three-game series against the Nationals. Jonathon Niese vs. Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 7:05.

About Connor O'Brien
I'm a 17 year-old blogger, high school student, and lifelong Mets fan. I've been blogging about the Mets in some form or another for about four years. I embrace the new age, sabermetric way of thinking, but also recognize the importance of scouting and player devlopment.

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