When Johan Santana was extended to 134 pitches, I happily supported the decision from Terry Collins. The result was a no-hitter, and a transcendent moment in the history of the franchise.
But Collins himself fought off tears as he wondered whether it would be the right decision going forward for the pitcher, whose shoulder had been reconstructed less than two years ago. Only subsequent starts would tell whether the workload had any effect on Santana.
It is entirely too soon to make a definitive determination about that. But the early returns haven’t been great.
In two starts since, Santana has an ERA of 9.00 over 10 innings. In his first start, he allowed four home runs. In his second start, he walked four and left the bases loaded in the sixth.
So it’s been a rough go so far. To be clear, the Mets made a difficult decision, and came to an understandable conclusion. And Santana might have gone through this kind of hiccup, elevated pitch count or no. He is, after all, less than two years removed from shoulder surgery.
But it would be heartbreaking if that decision cost them a healthy Santana moving forward. So a return to Santana’s first 11 starts, when he pitched to a 2.38 ERA, would sure be a welcome sight.