This particular type of talk in the Mets fan base has seemed to die down a bit, but there was a period of time within the last few weeks that the gradual deterioration of Johan Santana’s stuff was fairly noticeable. It seemed Mets fans were pouncing on him from every direction just to put him down.

The point is, even now that he’s gotten things back together a bit, what you see is what you get with an aging pitcher coming off of surgery. It is concerning that Mets fans have been getting on his case so much.

For any fans still up in arms about Santana’s performance, you are asking too much.

Santana simply is not the pitcher that he was with Minnesota, and because of factors like age and injury he is not capable of putting up the same mammoth numbers. 

Despite all the criticism and clouded fan perspective, Santana is still turning in a pretty good year; right now with his ERA at 3.41 and his WHIP at 1.24.

Santana could easily have more than five wins to his name now if it wasn’t for his lack of run support. His run support average is 4.05 on the year. Most of the ace pitchers in the National League have their run support average around six.

People that put down the lack of run support argument have been heard out and understood. But honestly, the lineup does nothing when Santana pitches. He has just five wins despite his 10 quality starts. That is about five more wins Santana could potentially have padded his record with. 

He had that stretch before his handful of iffy starts. Between May 13 and June 2, Santana started five games. He went 1-0 in this stretch. He pitched at least seven innings in all five starts. He allowed runs in two of the five starts; one was the game he won. There isn’t any way to ask more from a pitcher who is shutting out opponents and not collecting wins.

There have been ups and downs, but more often than not Santana has turned in some good starting pitching.

With his downs being noticeable, fans are getting on his case. But it may not entirely be Santana’s own fault.

Sure it can be blamed on his lack of velocity, but again, it is to be expected. His velocity has been gradually been plummeting since his twilight days in a Twins uniform. In 2006, his fastball topped out at around 93 mph, and in 2009 it dropped to 90. His gradual decline was a work in progress and should come as a surprise to nobody, especially after surgery.

With this in mind, naturally his strikeouts and effectiveness against left-handed pitchers will be down. Is it a good thing for the Mets rotation? Of course not. But it should have been expected, so it is more concerning that Mets fans in general haven’t been more supportive of him.

Mets should also remember that Santana is well-known for being a second half pitcher. He knows how to pitch down the stretch. He still has time to rebound from surgery and turn his game around the best he can.

All in all, attacking Santana is unproductive. He is still putting together some solid pitching, but all fans must understand that his best days are behind. There are some limitations in his game now, and if it hampers the Mets at all, it is what it is. It isn’t like no one saw it coming.

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