April 17, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana (57) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Santana Not Sharp as Mets Come up Short

The stage was set for the Mets to take their second consecutive series against the Braves in about two weeks; they just took the opening game at Turner Field the night before behind a solid Dillon Gee, and now they had Johan Santana, their ace, on the mound with his sparkling 0.90 ERA. As he was approaching the mound, Santana said he had flashbacks to him tearing the anterior capsule in this left shoulder 19 months ago at that very place, but once the thought went through his mind, he forgot about it. He probably forgot about it because over the next 55 pitches he threw, he experienced one of the most ineffective starts of his MLB career.

After giving up a run in the bottom of the first, everything unraveled in the second frame, leading to a 6-0 Atlanta lead and the Mets ace exiting after pitching only 1.1 innings, the shortest start of his career. The inning started with a walk, followed by a single and two doubles; that brought up Santana’s opposite number, pitcher Randall Delgado, who laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Ike Davis‘ throw to third base went wide, allowing the flood gates to open. Santana’s final line: 1.1 innings pitched, four hits six runs (four earned), one walk, and no strikeouts. The most important aspect of this poor start is that Santana feels fine, he just didn’t pitch well, which is going to happen. Both him and catcher Josh Thole said that there was not a problem with his pitches, but his command was inconsistent.

With the bullpen being asked to pitch the majority of the game last night, we did see Miguel Batista and Manny Acosta combine for 4.2 innings of one-run ball, giving up three hits and striking out four, getting them back on track. For the second straight appearance, Ramon Ramirez struggled, giving up two more runs in his two innings of work.

Offensively, the Mets tried to claw back into the game once they were down 6-0 with two runs in the fourth and then putting two more runners on in the fifth, but the Atlanta bullpen bailed out Delgado and squashed the potential threat with back-to-back strikeouts of Ike Davis and Jason Bay. On the positive side, Daniel Murphy broke out of his miniature cold streak with two hits, David Wright recorded yet another two-hit game of his own, and Captain Kirk increased his batting average to .321 with two hits of his own. Despite going 3-11 with runners in scoring position, the Mets left 10 men on base, which derailed any comeback attempts.

Probable Pitchers today:

R.A. Dickey will be taking the mound today for the Mets, looking to turn in another quality start in a rubber game; the offense will have the task of trying to put some runs up against Jair Jurrjens, who found the life in his fastball again in his last start against Milwaukee. The two teams will be squaring off in the first game of the day, a 12:10pm matinee in Atlanta.

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Tags: Atlanta Braves Johan Santana Kirk Nieuwenhuis Mets Game Recap New York Mets Rising Apple Santana Shortest Start Of Career

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