It’s time for the Mets to shut down Johan Santana

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Johan Santana gave up six runs in five innings to the Nationals on Friday, sending him to his fifth straight loss in a 6-4 game. He’s allowed 33 runs in 19 innings that span, taking his season ERA from 2.76 to 4.83.

The Mets didn’t want to admit it and trade veterans away before the deadline, but they’re playing for 2013 at this point. And given that they’re set to pay Santana a whopping $25.5 million next year, it’d make sense to give him the best possible chance to enter the season healthy. That would mean shutting him down now.

There’s no way to know whether it was truly cause and effect, but the fact is that Santana hasn’t been the same pitcher since throwing a career-high 134 pitches in his no-hitter against the Cardinals on June 1. Even the break he got last month when he served a DL stint due to a sprained ankle didn’t do him any good; he’s been lit up in both outings since.

Again, there’s really no good that can come from having Santana continue to take the mound. It’s time to save those bullets for 2013, when they might actually matter.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.