Johan Santana’s struggles continued tonight against the Dodgers, as he was chased after being knocked around for six runs over just three innings. It matched the second-shortest start of his career.
Santana gave up seven hits in all, including a two-run homer to Matt Kemp in the first inning and a two-run homer to Luis Cruz in the third. He walked three and struck out three and threw 45 out of 72 pitches for strikes.
Santana has now allowed 19 runs over his past three starts and six runs or more in each of them. The southpaw is just the third Mets’ pitcher to give up six runs or more in three straight starts, joining Pedro Astacio and Bobby Jones. He’s the fourth pitcher in the majors to do it this season, along with Joe Blanton, Bruce Chen and Mike Minor.
Santana, who missed all of last season while rehabbing his surgically-repaired left shoulder, now has a 3.98 ERA in 110 1/3 innings through 19 starts this season. This includes an ugly 6.54 ERA in eight starts since he threw a career-high 134 pitches in his no-hitter against the Cardinals back on June 1. Perhaps he was due to hit a wall at some point anyway, but given how much he has struggled recently, it’s hard not to look back to his workload from that historic evening in Queens.
As you no doubt saw already, Mets manager Mickey Callaway had a bad day yesterday. After some testy exchanges with the media over his bullpen use, he blew up at Newsday reporter Tim Healey after Healey told Callaway that he’d see him tomorrow, which Callaway took as sarcastic. Then Jason Vargas unhelpfully piled on, walking toward Healey and threatening him with violence. Healy spoke to his Newsday colleague David Lennon and explained the whole thing here. He’s pretty even-handed about it.
Callaway was already thought to be on at least moderately thin ice as Mets manager given his team’s underachievement this year. Thin ice or not, it’s not unreasonable to say that his behavior yesterday is something that a lot of teams would think of as a fireable offense. At the very least leaders in other businesses would think that way if one of their public-facing employees treated a reporter who covered him in that manner. In addition to it simply being bad form, it raises questions about Callaway’s temperament and his ability to handle pressure and adversity.
The Mets, however, do not seem to consider the matter to raise to that level. While they offered apologies to Healey and vowed that that he will be welcome in the clubhouse — for which Healey was appreciative — Callaway will be back to work as usual today, with the Mets announcing this morning that he will hold his usual pre-game press conference at 4PM in advance of tonight’s game against the Phillies.
Tell me: if you’re the GM or owner of a team and your manager does that, do you keep him? What do you do?
UPDATE: See if you can decide before the Mets do: