New York fans do not need much reason to boo. They’ve booed the best of them. But that doesn’t mean at times they do not come off as foolish for doing it. And after a game on April 12, 2008, Mets fans were perceived just that way; if not worse.
That particular Saturday afternoon game was newly acquired Johan Santana’s first start in Shea Stadium as a member of the Mets. He was bringing a 1-1 record into the game. The Amazins’ took on the Milwaukee Brewers that day, and lost. Starting in the fourth inning, and lasting for the duration of his start, Johan Santana was loudly booed. He pitched 6.2 innings, allowing six hits and five runs; four earned; for the loss. He walked two and struck out seven. But Johan gave up three home runs that day. Questionable performance or not, that was hardly the proper way to welcome Johan to town.
On the mound opposing him, was Ben Sheets. The Milwaukee starter pitched 7.2 innings, yielding five hits and three earned runs. David Wright finally connected off Sheets with a home run in the eighth inning of a 5-3 final in the Brewers’ favor. Otherwise, Ben walked two and struck out five for the win.
Prior to this Monday’s day off, the Mets wrapped up a series in Atlanta against the Braves in which they were summarily swept. Johan Santana pitched game three of that dreadful series on Sunday. He only lasted five innings, as he surrendered eight hits and six earned runs. He walked two and struck out three in earning his sixth loss. His record this season is now at the teetering point; 6-6; and ready to tilt precariously in either direction, just like his team.
Opposing Johan Santana and the New York Mets Sunday, was Braves’ starter, Ben Sheets. Yea that Ben Sheets. He’s back, and look what he did to us…again. Ben Sheets has never been a stranger to arm injuries. And now, he and Johan have something in common I guess. But his starts against the Mets have been uncommon. Making his first appearance on a MLB mound since July 19, 2010, Ben Sheets out-pitched Johan Santana once again with six innings of exceptional work, allowing all of two hits, and no runs. He walked one, and struck out five Mets. Pretty Amazin’ huh?
I do not know if this was an Omen, but things are starting to get pretty scary in Flushing. The losses of Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee have arrested this very moment. The Mets head into this series against Washington with R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana having already pitched. That leaves Jon Niese, Thing One, Thing Two, and…and, the bullpen, to confront the Nationals with. So be afraid. Be very afraid.
The Mets are now only three games above the .500 mark, and slipping. They are entering this next series 6 1/2 games behind first place Washington. Anything short of sweeping the Nationals, and the Mets start losing focus on the division, and start taking a more realistic, and careful look at their Wild Card possibilities. This may be the series that decides everything for the Mets’ hierarchy.