About Last Night: Santana lacked command, says he's fine

Johan Santana allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits in 1 1/3 innings last night. It was the shortest start of his career.

He faced 11 batters, threw 55 pitches, 35 of which were strikes.

“I felt fine,” Santana told reporters after the game. “It was just a rough one.”

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“Obviously, he didn’t hit any of his spots, he fell behind the count, and that’s not him,” Terry Collins said about Santana after the game. “It was just one of those nights. Probably something he has never experienced before. … I wasn’t going to let him stay out there and throw and throw and throw. I thought he threw enough pitches for the game, so that’s why I got him out.”

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, prior to last night’s game, Collins said Santana will begin working every fifth day after next Monday’s start against the Giants.

Collins had once suggested he might use a spot starter against the Rockies on April 28, but Rubin says Collins will only do so now if Santana does not feel strong enough for that start.

Santana is now 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA in 11 1/3 innings over three starts this season.

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Michael Baron: The defense behind him was terrible. No question. But Santana didn’t look good from the very beginning of his start, as well.

1) His tempo was dreadful. He worked very slowly and looked uncomfortable as he prepared to throw. He seemed out of sync with Josh Thole and there appeared to be a tense discussion in the dugout between the two after Santana came out of the game;

2) He had no command at all and was wild inside the strike zone when he managed to throw a strike;

3) His fastball and change-up were flat and up in the zone, so he couldn’t put hitters away.

This is going to happen from time to time, as Santana continues to work his way back from shoulder surgery. I’m concerned that his command hasn’t improved very much since the start of Spring Training. Hopefully, his athleticism and intelligence will help him limit these kind of ineffective outings as he continues to build.