This is why the Mets paid him $137 million dollars in February. This is why Omar Minaya and the Mets desperately wanted him all off-season. This is why he is considered the best pitcher in baseball today.
Johan Santana pitched an absolute gem today against the Florida Marlins. He threw a complete game shutout, his third complete game of the year. Yet, this one was much more special. This one came with the Mets season on the line. They needed Santana to be Superman and he was.
Three days ago the Mets ace threw 125 pitches in seven innings against the Cubs. The next day reports said that Santana told manager Jerry Manuel that he wanted the ball for today's game. He got, with Manuel hoping to get at least 105 pitches out of him on short rest. He threw 117 pitches, and with each pitch he got better. If the game went into extra innings, Santana probably would have demanded to pitch; he was red-hot and is only one who can save the Mets from themselves.
Santana struck out nine Marlin batters, making each batter look completely stupid as they were all out in front of Santana's leathal pitches.
As the final out was recored in the glove of Endy Chavez, Shea Stadium broke in a roucus cheer, perhaps for the final time ever. Santana then took the game ball, kissed it and hurled it into the stands, and tipped his cap to the crowd as he walked toward the showers.
Not a bad day's work if you can get it.
If God somehow lets the Mets into the postseason tomorrow night, Santana probably will start against the Cubs in game one of the Division Series. If not, then this will be the last time we see the ace until next April - boy did he leave a lasting memory for all Met fans and closed out Shea the only way he could.
NOTE: The Mets now still trail Milwaukee for the wild card, and need the Brewers to lose today to force a tie. If both teams are tied after tomorrow there will be a one game playoff on Monday.