Santana Done for the Season
Added by Guy Kipp on March 29, 2013.
Photo Credit: NY Post
All media outlets on Thursday reported that Johan Santana’s 2013 season is over before it has begun, and that there is a re-tear of the left shoulder capsule that sidelined him for all of 2011.
Anybody reading the tea leaves carefully enough could have seen this news coming as far back as early February, but, now that it’s official, the Mets pitching rotation is officially approaching a major concern, if not a shambles.
Santana was 3-2 with a 2.38 ERA from Opening Day, when he pitched brilliantly, through his June 1 no-hitter last year. From that point on, he was 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA until being shut down in August with “back stiffness.” Whether Santana’s 134-pitch count the night of his no-hitter was a catalyst, or, just as likely, whether the leg injury he suffered covering first base against the Cubs on July 6 was the culprit, something clearly more complicated than back stiffness was causing Santana to become painfully hittable in July and August.
The day after Santana was spiked covering first against the Cubs, Dillon Gee pitched his best—and last—game of the season, allowing seven hits and a run in eight innings to beat Chicago. But Gee was diagnosed with a blood clot in his right shoulder and never pitched again in 2013.
Gee is slated for a spot in the 2013 rotation, and it would be heartening, to say the least, if he could pitch the way he did the first three months of last season. But just a couple of weeks ago, Gee had a spring training start against Detroit in which he was painfully wild, issuing four walks and hitting four batters.
After Jon Niese opens the season, Matt Harvey is likely to move up now to the No. 2 spot in the rotation. The sophomore righty’s starts could figure as the few bright spots for the Mets early this season now. Harvey was 3-5 after coming up to the Mets in late July, but his 2.73 ERA and 70-26 strikeout-walk ratio in 59 1/3 innings was a better barometer of how overpowering Harvey was. He is an ace in waiting, and that may happen sooner rather than later. Matt Harvey is that good.
After that, the Mets have to see how projected starters Shaun Marcum and Jeremy Hefner respond after injuries late in spring training (Marcum: neck/shoulder; Hefner: elbow contusion after being hit with a batted ball). If they can’t answer the bell, the Mets have a real quandary filling the fourth and fifth starter spots in a suddenly very thin rotation.
If they’re really going to wait until midseason to call up Zack Wheeler from Triple-A Las Vegas, the first half of this season really might see the Mets waging a battle for last place with the decimated Marlins. And familiar arms like that of Chris Young might be getting a return look at Citi Field.