The Mets were in dire need of a win today. The Braves threatened to sweep them, and increase their lead to six games over the Mets heading into the All-Star Break.

The Mets, especially Johan Santana, made sure that didn’t happen. Santana tossed seven shutout innings against the Braves, and the Mets actually scored some runs for him. It was a great game all-around, and it’s a good note going into the All-Star Break. 

Although Johan has been dynamite his last three starts, things haven’t always been so good this season. Santana had a string of so-so starts, and those outings were definitely not the norm for him.  

People began questioning who the true ace of the Mets pitching staff was. Mike Pelfrey or Johan Santana? Surprisingly, it seemed like people now trusted the “Big Pelf” more. 

Don’t get me wrong, Pelfrey has been fantastic this year. And although he has hit a little bump in the road, he is still the “Second” Ace of the team.

When people argued that Pelfrey was the true Mets ace, I shook my head. Johan is the Mets ace. I will always want him on the mound for the big game, and he proved why today.

Santana’s numbers for the first half don’t jump off the page, but a lot lies behind the numbers. Santana has seven no decisions, and in those no decisions he has an ERA in the one’s. 

If he won just four of those games, he would be 12-7. Pretty good, right? Johan has gotten no run support, and if he can just get a few more runs per game, his numbers would be so much better. 

Johan is a much better second half pitcher. His numbers in the second half are phenomenal and there’s no reason to believe that Johan won’t have another great stretch run in 2010.

When Johan wasn’t so good this year, it was because he hadn’t yet learn how to pitch with less velocity on his fastball. He was also tipping his pitches during some games.  The crazy thing is that Johan always tips his pitches. It’s just that, because of his surgery, his stuff isn’t as good as it used to be.

I think that at that point, Johan realized that he wasn’t the pitcher he used to be. The surgery took some velocity away from his fastball, which he found that out the hard way. 

Johan is one of the smartest pitchers in the game and he showed that by finding a way to be great again. He now relies more on control, because his stuff doesn’t overpower hitters anymore, and he has studied up even more on the hitters. 

I am positive that Johan Santana will have a huge second half. He has always done it, and he will keep that trend going. Santana is New York’s ace, and he will help the Mets compete in the second half.  Look forward to big things from Mr. Santana. 

Remember, “Don’t Mess With The Johan”.

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