Santana continues to struggle badly with his overall command

In last night’s 9-3 loss to the Braves, Johan Santana allowed eight runs in only 1 1/3 innings, tying his April 17th start against Atlanta for the shortest outing of his career.

“I’m fine. It’s just one of those nights where I didn’t execute pitches the way they’re supposed to be executed,” Santana said after the game. “Overall I felt fine. I didn’t feel anything in my ankle or my shoulder. I felt good. It’s just over three weeks not facing any hitters at this level and then trying to command all of your pitches, it wasn’t my best.”

Santana fell to 6-8 and has seen his ERA rise from 2.76 to 4.58 over his last four starts – he is 0-4 with a 17.36 ERA, having allowed 27 earned runs in only 14 innings over that span.

“It’s tough, but at least I’m back. And I’m just going to make my adjustments and work the next couple of days and hopefully be ready for my next time out there. I’m just going through a tough stretch. I’m just struggling. But I’ve got to bounce back. I haven’t pitched for, I don’t know, the last three weeks.”

Since his 134-pitch no-hitter on June 1, Santana is 3-6 with a 7.98 ERA in 44 innings over nine starts.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Last night was as ineffective as I’ve seen Santana during his tenure with the Mets. It was as quick of a beat down as he’s had in his career. He did have somewhat better velocity on his fastball – he was living at around 90 mph with it – but everything, including his slider and change-up were right down the middle of the plate and he had no movement at all on his pitches. He had no command of the strike zone whatsoever with his fastball and change-up in particular. The Braves swung and missed on just one of his 19 off-speed pitches.  And so, Atlanta torched Santana and torched him right from the beginning.

Call it what you want – fatigue, rustiness, mechanical, an injury, or whatever. In the end, Santana’s production (or lack thereof) is scary bad right now, to the point that if this continues, the Mets have to consider shutting him down as Anthony McCarron suggested in Newsday this morning. I’d hate to see it and do not want his season to come to that – I really love watching Santana pitch and think he is capable of doing something extraordinary on any given night he’s out there. But something just isn’t right at the moment. The fact his fastball velocity is good probably indicates his shoulder is ok, but something is clearly preventing him from having any command, which is something he must have since he no longer possesses the electric fastball.