Not to assign too much meaning to a single game in May, but last night could have been a defining moment in Omar Minaya’s Mets tenure, at least symbolically. Imagine: Taking the mound is his biggest acquisition, Johan Santana, who has been pitching unbelievably well so far this year. Santana is opposing not just a divisional rival, but a pitcher, Derek Lowe, that Minaya decided this offseason not to break the bank for. (Not to mention the fact that he’s also looking pretty smart these days for passing on Manny Ramirez.) And all this is happening while the Mets are in first place, on a seven-game winning streak.
But even while riding high, old habits die hard. And once again, the Mets let down Santana, losing 8–3. This time, it was a shaky defense that allowed five unearned runs to score (two credited to Johan), and again, a failure to score runs of their own. Santana didn’t allow an earned run in six and one-third innings, and again lowered his ERA, which now stands at just 0.78. But he took the loss, bringing his record to 4–2, and the team’s record to just 4–3 in his starts. This shouldn’t really be a cause for panic — after all, it’s a lot easier to find a way to score an average number of runs (especially for a good team like the Mets) than to find a pitcher who’ll post an ERA under one. But still, it’s hard to believe.