Posted at 10:10 AM on July 7, 2005
by David Zingler
If you attended a Twins game early this season, there was, no doubt, some pre-game ceremony honoring Johan Santana. The left-hander received everything short of the Nobel Peace Prize. And he deserved it. After a recent string of struggles however, including a 5.90 ERA in his past five starts, you have to wonder if his 2004 season, particularly the second half, is a fluke.
The Star Tribune pointed out today that the 26-year-oldís 2005 numbers are nearly identical to those of his 2004 Cy Young season on this date.
July 7, 2004: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.89 ERA with 29 BB & 125 Kís
July 7, 2005: 18 starts, 7-5, 3.98 ERA with 26 BB & 143 Kís
Their message is donít panic, but those numbers are misleading. On June 8, after his shutout of the Diamondbacks, Santana was 7-2 with a 3.31 ERA. On June 9, 2004, he was 3-4 with a 5.12 ERA. You may remember, Santana went on a historic second half run last season and carried the Twins to a division title. It is unrealistic to expect him to match that in 2005, but it is imperative that he pitch much better than he did in the first half, which was a failure for the supposed ace.
There have been several theories surrounding the Venezuelanís demise, some say heís tipping his pitches, others feel heís too enamored with the strikeout and then thereís always human nature; a 4 year, $40 million contract could make anybody a little too comfortable.
I believe Santana is a very good pitcher and will win around 17 games this season, but so far heís let the team down.