What I care about more

Matt Cerrone mentioned Johan Santana’s run of bad luck on MetsBlog earlier today, which is funny to me because earlier in the season, sabermetricians everywhere were rapping about Santana’s run of good luck.

Remember when Santana was walking more batters than he was striking out, yet somehow keeping his ERA down, and everyone was all, “Johan Santana sucks now, the results are illusory,” and waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Well something different happened: Santana seems to have returned to being Santana. Granted, his rates for the season are still atypical due to his performance for most of the year. His K/9 is way below his career average.

But in five starts in August, Santana has struck out 43 batters in 39 1/3 innings while walking nine. He has allowed five home runs — more in line with his normal rate than the low total he allowed earlier in the season — but has a 2.29 ERA over that stretch.

It’s a very small sample, for sure. And maybe I’m grasping at a reasonably arbitrary set of starts to try to prove to myself that a once-great pitcher still under lucrative contract for several more seasons with my favorite team has a lot left in the tank.

Or maybe Santana is still building up arm strength after offseason surgery or fixing some mechanical hiccup or not tipping pitches anymore. I don’t know.

All I know is that, in a season when the Mets’ wins and losses don’t really matter a hell of a lot anymore, I care a lot more about seeing Santana right, striking out lots of batters and dominating opponents, than I do about his win-loss record. (Which is not to say Matt doesn’t.)

Sure, it’d be nice if the Mets could win some more games, but a strong finish for Santana could help convince everyone that landing a No. 1 starting pitcher doesn’t have to be the No. 1 priority this offseason.

3 thoughts on “What I care about more

  1. Great post. Great point. I have still watched most Mets games in the past month or so, and let me take this a step further:

    I, like you, am rooting for Santana to pitch well. I am also rooting for Pelf, Dickey and Niese to pitch well. I’m looking for Ike to get his avg up. I’m hoping Reyes stays healthy. I want Beltran to start looking more like himself.

    These are individuals, and those that will be on the team next year.

    I fear, though, that if this team puts together a winning streak and lands a bit above .500, nothing too crazy will be done in the off-season. So bring the losses. Bring ‘em!

    I’m almost rooting for team failure, while at the same time hoping for individual successes. It’s like having Tom Brady on my fantasy team.

  2. Given that these are the reactionary NY Mets we’re talking about what in God’s name makes anyone think that their #1 priority this off season would be a #1 starting pitcher?

    Surely the nincompoops and neanderthals that run this team will look at a couple of cursory 19th century statistics and see a team overburdened with quality pitchers but lacking in offense and sign the 2nd best available free agent hitter to a ridiculous (but less ridiculous than the one the best hitter available gets) contract.

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