2009 MLB National League East Notebook
There was no question that when the New York Mets traded for Johan Santana, they were getting the best left-hander in baseball.
And really, if it wasn’t for Santana’s blistering start this year, who know where the Mets would be. Santana was brilliant again for them against Philadelphia with a 10-strikeout performance in 1-0 victory on May 6. Actually, it was the second time Santana delivered a 1-0 win for his team.
Santana has a NL-best 54 strikeouts and a NL-best 0.91 ERA. He hasn’t pitched fewer than 5 2/3 innings and struck out at least seven in each start. Plus, opponents are hitting .185 against him.
For that, the Mets have scored a total of 12 runs in his first six starts. Do the math and that’s 2 runs per game. That’s just putting extremely too much on him with an offense that is pretty much underachieving.
At least he was rewarded as the NL pitcher of the month for April.
Remember that 11-1 start for the Marlins to begin the season? Well, they’ve pretty much given back all of those gains.
Florida has hit the skids by dropping 12 of its last 16 games to fall to 15-13 and fall out of first place. Part of the offensive problems for the fish is that they are the least selective team in the National League.
They struck out 10 more times in an 8-6 loss to Atlanta and lead the league with 241 punchouts. Florida already has five players who have struck at least 20 times this season. That’s well on its way to turning into 100 strikeout seasons.
All you need to know about the season for the Nationals this season was this quote from acting general manager Mike Rizzo about the team’s start.
Rizzo told reporters earlier this week: "We've got leads that we need to hold. We need to play better defense, and we need the bullpen to perform."
That’s kind of stating the obvious since the Nationals are the worst fielding team in baseball, have no closer and also have the second worst pitching staff in the National League.
Other than that, no problems.
The Phillies know a thing or two about holding first. They reclaimed first place in the division earlier this week.
Unfortunately, their pitching staff is first in the NL in home runs allowed with 46. Now it doesn’t help that they play in the band box of Citizens Bank Park where home runs will collect in mass quantity.
But that’s definitely a number that needs to straighten itself out. The closest team to them in home runs allowed is Washington with 31.
Third baseman Chipper Jones has hit 410 home runs in his career. Should he make 500 for his career, there’s a pretty good chance he will make the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But here’s one thing you may not have known. In his career, Jones has never led the National League in home runs.
Jones has always been pretty consistent with home run totals in the mid-to-upper 30s. His high water mark was 45 back in 1999. But that’s the only year he ever eclipsed 40, which is pretty surprising.
Jones also has the rare trait of being a player who has walked more than he has struck out. He has walked 1,257 times and walked 1,154 times.
By Kevin Lonnquist
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