After watching Johan Santana pick up a pair of no decisions despite allowing zero runs in his last two starts, you might have turned to your friend and said that Santana won't win again until Lady Gaga graces Citi Field with her presence. Okay, you probably didn't say that but the singer was there on Thursday and it didn't do anything to alleviate the bad romance between Santana and the rest of his team.
The record will show that Santana didn't pitch particularly well in the front end of the Mets-Padres doubleheader. He gave up eight hits, four runs and walked four Padres in a 4-2 loss that snuffed the Mets' home winning streak after nine games. The record will lack a certain context, however.
It will lack the context of watching Santana struggle to be overly fine with less than his best stuff because he knows that his team isn't going to score any runs behind him. He got away with it in San Diego last week and again in Milwaukee over the weekend but a man can only dance for so long before he gets caught with a left hook that drops him to the canvas. That happened in the fifth when Santana lost a battle to Adrian Gonzalez and gave up a third run.
There was still plenty of time for the Mets to come back but offensive explosions simply aren't in the cards when Santana is on the hill. They actually managed to score two runs on Thursday, two more than in his last two starts combined, but they were completely shut down after Henry Blanco's second-inning home run. The Mets sent 22 batters to the plate and 22 batters made immediate right turns back to the first base dugout.
So much for better living through chemistry.
Santana was far from his best. His velocity was off all day, his breaking pitches lacked their customary sharpness and, generally, he looked like a tired pitcher. Whether that's a sign of actual fatigue or the frustration of knowing that he wasn't going to get any help from his friends is unclear but Santana's starts have rapidly stopped being the highlight of the Mets' week.
He'll probably win his 127th major league game at some point, but it might not hurt to ask Gaga for some tips on the music business just in case.