By Mike Steffanos
Game 26: Mets 1 - Phillies 0
I'm old enough to remember all the great Mets pitchers: Seaver, Koosman, the underrated Jon Matlack and Gooden. There were many near-greats who put up some great seasons: Swan, Darling, Ojeda, El Sid, Viola, Saberhagen, Leiter, etc. There were guys that could have been great if not for injuries like Gary Gentry and Paul Wilson. Whether developed from within the organization or imported from elsewhere, pitching has always defined this franchise.
When all of the Santana talk first surfaced, I worried about offering that length of contract to any pitcher, and wondered if Santana could handle New York after spending the formative years of his career in Minnesota -- almost a polar opposite of this fishbowl.
It took a little while, but I don't have any lingering doubts about him handling New York. The length of contract question won't be answered until 2013. However, all of the talk last year in the media about Santana's diminished velocity certainly proved to be hot air.
Really, the lingering question for Santana in the short-term is whether the Mets will score any runs for him. While Santana has faced a lot of ace pitchers in the early going, Chan Ho Park is clearly not one of them.
Park was good last night, but 6 innings of one-hit ball was silly. You get the feeling the other team could roll out virtually anyone against Santana now and the Mets would have trouble scoring runs against them.
Anyway, Santana did what an ace is supposed to do, and the Mets have achieved mediocrity again with a .500 record. Kudos also to Pedro Feliciano and Frankie Rodriguez. Feliciano kept the one-run lead against the heart of the Phillies' order, while Rodriguez is pitching practically every day.