Sandy Alderson made the bad news regarding Johan Santana somewhat official. The Mets pitcher will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactively. Additionally, the GM intimated, Johan Santana will probably not pitch for the remainder of the season. The results of Monday’s MRI revealed inflammation in Johan’s lower back. Coincidentally, it wasn’t until the conclusion of Johan’s bullpen session earlier in the day, that Johan felt any discomfort. In one of those odd episodes that only seem to happen in Flushing, what started out as concern for his surgically repaired arm, turned into organizational dismay over discovering a secondary ailment. As Johan Santana already visited the DL once this season, the next and only logical step for the Mets to take, was to shut him down.
So, there it is. The former Cy Young’s 2012 season is effectively done. He started twenty-one games, in which he posted a disappointing 6-9 record, accompanied by an equally disheartening 4.85 ERA. In a word, I’d characterize Johan Santana’s season as being – hittable. In 117 innings pitched, Johan allowed exactly 117 hits. He hadn’t averaged nine hits allowed per nine innings pitched since his 2001 sophomore season. He also surrendered an alarming seventeen home runs. To go along with hits allowed, he issued thirty-nine walks over that span. His 1.33 WHiP wound up being his worst mark since his 2000 rookie campaign. On the bright side, Johan struck out 111 batters. I guess that speaks to an effective difference between his fastball and change-up. But as pitching goes, it was his location that ultimately knocked Johan out of the box.
Out of his twenty-one starts this season, he completed two of them quite marvelously. On May 26th at Citi Field against San Diego, Johan pitched a nine inning gem, in which he allowed four scattered hits, walked none, and struck out seven batters. He threw ninety-six pitches that night. Johan then immediately followed that start with a masterpiece against the St. Louis Cardinals his next time out. Johan Santana hurled the New York Mets first no-hitter in the franchise’s history. And it will be for that game that this 2012 season will be remembered by. He walked five batters that night, but struck out eight. Make no mistake however, Johan Santana authored Citi Field’s first magical and amazin’ moment in the park’s four year history.
Particular to Johan Santana’s situation, (i.e.; returning from arm surgery) the game was not without its’ controversy surrounding Johan’s pitch count. Final tally – 134 pitches thrown. The no-hitter put the Mets, and Terry Collins in particular, in a precarious spot at the time, as this performance came on the heals of a complete game shut-out versus San Diego in his prior start, as noted above.
While Johan Santana is not a broken pitcher by any stretch, it can be said his season was akin to a ticking time bomb. Detonation was just a matter of time, but in the after-math, the damage is clearly nothing to be exaggerated. However, enough of Johan Santana’s left arm and body was sufficiently compromised this season to warrant a work stoppage. I believe it is safe to say, all are in agreement that this is best regardless of inflammation in his back..
Now what? Well…, with regard to Johan Santana, the Mets; this Winter; next season; next season’s trade deadline; the final season of Santana’s contract; and where the club goes from here; are all now matters for intense speculation.