Johan Santana throws first no-hitter in Mets’ history

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UPDATE: He did it! Johan Santana has done it. He has thrown the first no-hitter in Mets’ history. Unbelievable.

9:31 PM: Santana has now held the Cardinals hitless through eight innings.

He got Tyler Greene to pop up to Kirk Nieuwenhuis for the first out and struck out Shane Robinson looking before issuing a two-out walk to Rafael Furcal. Mets manager Terry Collins came out to the mound to check his temperature, but he was able to get Carlos Beltran to pop out for the final out of the top of the eighth.

Santana is the first Met since Tom Seaver to complete eight no-hit innings. He’s now at 122 pitches. Any way he doesn’t get a chance to finish this one off?

Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and David Freese are due to bat for the Cardinals in the top of the ninth.

9:15 PM: Santana dropped down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning, so it appears he will get a chance to pitch the eighth inning.

9:12 PM: The Mets have never had a no-hitter in their history, but Johan Santana is trying to change that.

Santana has held the Cardinals hitless over the first seven innings tonight. The Mets currently lead the ballgame 5-0.

Santana has walked four and stuck out six while throwing 107 pitches. He hasn’t thrown more than 108 pitches (May 5 against the Diamondbacks) since returning from shoulder surgery, so he’ll be going into uncharted territory in order to get a chance to finish this one off.

Santana nearly lost the no-no in the top of the seventh when Yadier Molina lifted a fly ball near the warning track in left field, but Mike Baxter was able to make a tremendous running catch before slamming into the wall. He left the game with an apparent injury to his left arm. If the Mets do this, Baxter will never have to buy a drink in New York for the rest of his life.

There will be some controversy if the Mets finish this one off, as third base umpire Adrian Johnson botched a call on a Carlos Beltran liner in the top of the sixth inning. Beltran hit a would-be double down the third base line, but Johnson called the ball foul. He continued the at-bat and eventually grounded out. The missed call could eventually become a part of franchise lure.

Stay tuned to see if the Mets will make history.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉