After Johan Santana completed his 3-0 shutout of the Reds last night, Jerry Manuel claimed that he only visited the mound in the ninth to see how Santana was feeling. From Metsblog:
Santana said, 'I want to finish it,' Manuel said, 'OK,' and, 'That was that.'
Santana's been on the Mets for 2 1/2 years and has built a reputation as someone as competitive as anyone else on the team. And Manuel still felt the need to ask him how he felt?
What did he expect Santana to say - "Better take me out, Skip. K-Rod needs his regular work"?
Manuel even admitted after the game that he would have been that much more reluctant to remove Santana since the last batter had reached on an error (by Jason Bay).
So why did Manuel bother to come out to the mound? Was he just messing with the crowd, getting them to boo when he approached the mound, then cheer when he left Johan in?
Or was Manuel starting to do his usual managing by the book, but resisting the urge to make the usual knee-jerk decision and making the right move for this game?
After Bay's error, Johnny Gomes was coming up as the tying run. Following Gomes was Drew Stubbs. Two righty hitters with power. Stubbs had just hit three homers in a game on Sunday. Going by the book would mean taking out Santana and bringing in your righty closer.
Fortunately for Santana and the Mets, Manuel threw away the book in the ninth inning last night.
On June 21, I wrote that it was "Way too soon to bury Johan Santana." Santana had one more lousy start after that, then has allowed only one run in 16 innings over his last two starts. I'm glad to see that Santana is looking like he can pull off one of his second-half surges.
But June 21 was also just after I wore my new Mike Pelfrey shirt to his game at Yankee Stadium. Back then, Pelfrey was looking like the ace of the staff and a sure All-Star, with an ERA of 2.39. Now that ERA is exactly one run higher at 3.39.
Squawker Lisa wore an "In Joba We Trust" shirt to that game, and Chamberlain has been struggling as well. Could it be that our Subway Series shirts are cursed? What do you think, Lisa, should we bury our shirts at Yankee Stadium next to the David Ortiz jersey?