calling out Santana to prove to Mets fans he's still the pitcher we thought he was, Santana goes out and does just that. A complete game, shutout.
While I'm not about to pull a Jerry Manuel and call it a "gangsta" performance, it was a stake in the ground moment for Santana heading into the All Star break. Santana needed to dominate and come out with a win. In fact, he put the whole team on his back as he belted the first home run of his career. Hey, if no one is going to score runs for him, he might as well do it himself.
In the 9th I was pleased to see Manuel leave Santana in even when he got into trouble. This was Santana's game to win or lose. Nobody was going to take it from him.
The irony of Santana's 6-5 record at the break is it's the same record he had when he won his last Cy Young Award. It's true. Santana has always been a second half pitcher and I'm hoping and praying that he proves to be just that again this year. Santana's success not only helps the Mets win ball games, but it also takes pressure off of Pelfrey to be the #1 guy in the rotation.
The Mets still need to add another starting pitcher, but at least there's a new found hope in Santana that he can continue to be the ultimate competitor that we know he is.