Saturday, August 11, 2012

Game #114: Braves 9, Mets 3

Didn't think it could get much worse than last night? Might want to sit down to read this one.

Johan Santana returned from the DL to the worst start of his career and the Mets ran out of time against the Braves, falling 9-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Johan Santana and his team were hoping the extended rest from his DL stint would allow him to return to the kind of stuff he pitched before and during his June 1 no-hitter. Should've taken an extra week, I guess. Santana was absolutely shelled, giving up 8 runs on 8 hits in just 1.1 innings.
    • That makes it 4 starts in a row Santana has given up 6+ runs.
    • The worst part? Chipper Jones was hardly even part of this onslaught: Larry the Met-Killer was only 1-5 with one RBI.
  • No matter who's on the mound, it's tough to come back from a 9-0 deficit. Especially against a team that actually did it earlier this season. But Atlanta starter Kris Medlen was a worthy opponent who gave up just 1 run on 5 hits over 6.1 innings.
The Good Stuff:
  • All things considered, the New York bullpen turned in a great performance tonight. Jeremy Hefner allowed a 3-run homer to Freddie Freeman in the 2nd, but only 1 of those runs was his own, and in the rest of his 3.2 innings he turned in a scoreless performance.
  • Manny Acosta, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco helped keep the Braves from double figures over the rest of the 4 innings, allowing just 1 hit between them and striking out a total of 6.
  • Ruben Tejada rebounded from an 0-for yesterday by going 2-4 with a double and RBI.
Final Analysis:
Johan Santana was sent back to the dugout in the 2nd but his team was DOA. A discouraging month was given an explanation point as the man to give the franchise its first no-hitter earlier this year has relinquished all claims on the title of "Ace." At this point the only hope is not that 33-year-old Santana can recover his former Cy Young self, but can still be a functional starting pitcher in the major leagues. He'll have to be; we owe him $25 million+ next season no matter what.

So what's next for the Mets? Another date on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball tomorrow. Jon Niese, who pitched 6 scoreless during No-Han weekend in primetime earlier this year, needs to show that calm coolness in front of a large audience if he wants to help his team avoid an embarrassing sweep.


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