Did the 134 pitches take a toll? After getting lit up by the Yankees last week, Johan Santana gave up four runs in five-plus innings Thursday versus the Rays in his second start since his no-hitter.
The 134 pitches Santana threw in shutting down the Cardinals were a career high for the left-hander, who was handled carefully during the first two months in his first season back from shoulder surgery. Pitching on six days’ rest last Friday, he gave up six runs and four homers in five innings in a loss to the Yankees. Today, working on five days’ rest, he got a win, but he allowed four runs in five-plus innings.
It actually should have been worse. Santana loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, giving up a single to Hideki Matsui, a double to Ben Zobrist and a walk to Matt Joyce. Jon Rauch took over and managed to strand all three runners by getting two strikeouts and then a groundout.
Santana threw just 51 of his 95 pitches for strikes in this one. He issued four walks, his second highest total of the season (he walked five in the no-hitter).
Santana’s ERA has jumped from 2.38 to 3.23 since the no-no and would be higher if not for Rauch’s effort. The Mets have to be hoping its an aberration, not a trend. Santana and R.A. Dickey have been an outstanding one-two punch so far, but Santana needs to return to May form to keep that up.
Carlos Beltran had a bad night:
Lot of that going around lately.
As a result, he’s getting the night off for the Cardinals-White Sox game. He’s not expected to miss much more time than that, though.
Steve Tolleson’s demotion to Triple-A was short-lived, as the Orioles recalled the utility man and placed Endy Chavez on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Chavez suffered the injury Tuesday and said repeatedly that he could avoid the DL, but the Orioles decided it wasn’t worth playing short-handed in the hopes a part-time player could return sooner than 15 days.
It also didn’t help Chavez’s case that he’s hitting .162 after resurrecting his career last season with a .301 batting average and .749 OPS in 83 games for the Rangers.
On the one hand you have Keith Olbermann.
Olbermann notes that there have been a lot of no-hitters and perfect games thrown in recent years. About which he says “something is wrong with this picture,” which he characterizes as “historical anomalies” that represent a “severe skewing of the sport,” for which he credits “bizarre statistical thunderstorms” and, maybe, some mildly sinister steroid/no steroids hoodoo. He ultimately claims that, as a result of all of this strangeness, we shouldn’t get too excited about Matt Cain’s accomplishments.
On the other hand you have Jay Jaffe.
Jaffe looks at the same seeming explosion in no-hitters and, rather than consider them anomalous and unnatural, looks at four factors which explain why they are happening more often than they used to, noting that the number of games played a year have almost doubled, how batting average is down, strikeouts are up and defense is better. Jaffe doesn’t presume to tell us what to think about the no-hitters, but he gives us actual tools to consider them intelligently.
In any event, this is a decent life lesson. When trying to understand a given phenomenon, listen more closely to the people who actually think about it and listen less closely to the people who just want to throw up their hands and squawk about it as if the problem is more scary than interesting.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that there are three parties left in the running to buy the Padres:
- Gary Jabara, the founder of a Newport Beach wireless communications company;
- Steve Kaplan, principal at Oaktree Capital in Los Angeles; and
- Peter O’Malley, former owner of the Dodgers.
More so than the owners’ identities, however, I am interested in the reported sales price: $800 million. Arte Moreno bought the Angels for $180 million ten years ago. The Cubs more recently sold for around $800 million. Now the Padres, a less-successful franchise with a smaller fan base in a smaller town than either of those two teams is about to be sold for that amount the Cubs went for.
The mind kind of reels, no?