After one round, Johan Santana accomplished what the Mets set out to do in acquiring the stud southpaw: dominate, frustrate, smother the Phillies’ lineup. Santana earned the win in a 6-4 defeat of the Phils.
As a Phillies fan, last night's start by Santana should terrify you. Not only the prospect of facing Johan head-to-head perhaps three more times this season, but the fact the Mets can feature exactly what we saw last night every fifth game against the rest of the league. Granted, he won’t be 10-strikeout, zero-walk good every start (that’s every start through 2013, 2014 with a vesting option), but to rationalize his overall impact boarders on denial. Historically, the left-hander becomes even more beastly as the season rolls along. Santana alone could be enough to tip the scales in a mediocre NL East.
The shame of it was, the Phillies had a chance to be the ones left standing, not to detract from the terrific games Santana and David Wright had. Cole Hamels wasn’t brilliant, but kept it close.
Their defense let them down again. Carlos Ruiz, considered the smoother defender of the two catchers, allowed a crucial passed ball in the first, moving Ryan Church into scoring position. In the third, Ruiz’s throw would have been in time to get Jose Reyes had it not sailed seven feet over the bag. He wasn’t alone. Jayson Werth misplayed a ball in center, which turned into an RBI triple. Ryan Howard booted one in the 7th. The Mets capitalized on all these gaffs.
I spoke too soon on JC Romero and didn’t see the forest through the trees. On the surface, he’s been fine. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that of seven inherited runners, he’s allowed five of them to score, including three in relief of Hamels last night.
Phils try again today at 3:55. Try not to trip over your own shadows.