Posted at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2007
by Steve Rudolph
In all likelihood, Johan Santana pitched his last game for the Twins in the Metrodome last Friday night. And as been the case for much of the season, it left much to be desired.
Granted, Santana hasn’t started a meaningful game since…oh…last October. But you still have to wonder what’s happened to the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
Entering Friday’s 6-4 loss to the White Sox, Santana’s ERA in the first inning this season was a whopping 6.10. Making it even more glaring is the fact that 30 percent of the runs he’s given up this season have come in the game’s first frame.
Santana didn’t let fans down on Friday when he served up a pitch that Josh Fields sent 420 feet the other way. It was the fifth home run he’s given up in his last six starts – a stretch during which he’s given up 13 first-inning runs.
As bad as Santana has been early, I don’t think it will diminish his trade value in the off-season. Pitching is always at a premium and the Twins should be able to get four or five players/prospects in return for him.
The question is, what do the Twins need most in exchange for Santana: a third baseman, a centerfielder or a left fielder?
From an Indians' fan, I think Santana is compared to Radke because of the Indians. He did well against the rest of the league, but Cleveland had his number.
Perhaps we can say that without Santana, Cleveland would not have won the division. If Santana was his usual dominating self, Cleveland might be looking up at Detroit.
With all due respect -- also an Indians fan here -- Santana WAS dominating in a few of his starts vs. the Tribe. He had the misfortune of being matched up, however, with an equally dominated starter in almost every case.
He only really had one bad start -- which accounted for most of that 4+ ERA against them -- against the Tribe. But his problem this year was the same problem that C.C. Sabathia had this year -- the so called Inning of Crap.
The Tribe only batted .241 against Santana this year.
The problem with the Twins this year had nothing to do with Santana, it had everything to do with an unreasonable expectation that a team that started so many bench players was capable of competing in the division this year.
It's a really putrid offense.
And Joe Mauer is the most overrated player in the game.