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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Meet Johan Santana

Now that's what a ninth inning ought to look like: Five pitches, no fuss, put it in the books.

Now this is the kind of pitching line you dream of: 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB. 113 pitches, 85 of them for strikes.

Johan Santana is 11-7 in mid-August, but just look at this game log.

In the 15 games in which Santana didn't get a win, he's given up this many earned runs: 1, 4, 2, 1, 3, 1, 0, 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 2, 1, 2. In 10 of those games he clearly did everything one could have asked of him — with better offensive support and bullpen work behind him, he could be knocking on the door of 20 wins.

Santana's had exactly two starts that would qualify as lousy all year: He gave up 4 ER in six innings against the Angels back in June and 5 earned against the Reds last month. When your bad starts can be referred to by the month in which they occurred, with no possibility of confusion, I'd say you're doing OK.

Or consider this: Santana went winless from June 6 to July 4. During that stretch, he lowered his ERA from an already-solid 3.20 to 2.96.

There was an odd feeling of dissatisfaction with Santana early on, as if we expected him to not only pitch superb baseball but also to discover cold fusion and clean up the Middle East. (If I can be a horrible fan for a moment, I do still wonder why he's been more Al Leiter than Mike Hampton with a bat in his hands.) The man's highest ERA following any game this season has been 3.41. Big second-half pitcher? He's been a big pitcher in whatever half you'd like to choose.

No prospects-for-a-veteran trade can be fairly assessed just one season in, but Carlos Gomez is hitting .250 and has brought little beyond speed to the Twins. Kevin Mulvey has been OK for Rochester, but Philip Humber has an ERA over 5 and Deolis Guerra is scuffling with a similar ERA for Fort Myers. Santana, meanwhile, has had to learn a new league, find a place in a new clubhouse, deal with a ferocious media, forge a relationship with two managers and two pitching coaches, and not yield to the temptation of strangling a parade of incompetent relievers.

All things considered, I'd say he's done just fine.

6 comments to Meet Johan Santana

  • Anonymous

    FYI-just looked these stats up on Total innings pitched, Johan is tied for second for all of baseball. Total pitches…#7. It seems like a lot of people have wanted Johan to keep throwing, but he has. He should have, maybe 16 wins.

  • Anonymous

    On todays telecast Keith made an observation that I think is right on the money..
    He said that the lessons learned from last seasons collapse could now be activated- in the form of confidence and motivation..

  • Anonymous

    I heard on the radio last night that Santana's 85 strikes was the second most in the majors this season , Matt Cain had 89 in a game earlier , Johan just looked awesome.

  • Anonymous

    And here we are back on Monday to talk of a good start destroyed by the bullpen.

  • Anonymous

    Can Sanchez get ANYONE out?

  • Anonymous

    I like Maine, and I really hope his arm stays OK for the remainder of the season. But, it's tough to put the blame solely on the bullpen whenever they have to mop up four innings. Stokes was excellent against Washington, but gave up two runs here. Feliciano was great against Washington, but got us in trouble here. Joe Smith has been shaky for over a week, but got everyone out of a jam today. Etc. etc. Whenever that many guys have to go out on the mound, some are going to be good, and others aren't. It's just one game out of an otherwise terrific road trip, and the team's still in first.