Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Five things to know on Santana's feat
By Mark Simon
The last time that Johan Santana pitched a shutout (September 27, 2008 against the Marlins), the circumstances were a little more arduous.
For one thing, the Mets were down a game in the standings with two to play. And for another, he was pitching with a torn meniscus that required surgery.
Coincidentally, in both that game and the one on Tuesday night, Santana allowed three hits and yielded three walks. That's one of a few neat tidbits we uncovered. Here are a few others:
• Mets pitchers have thrown 312 complete-game shutouts and hit 47 home runs, but this was only the second time that both have come in the same game-- the other was by Pete Falcone against the Phillies on September 29, 1981.
Santana and Falcone were both left-handed, but the comparisons pretty much end there. Falcone, a native of Brooklyn, finished his Mets career with a 26-37 record.
Falcone's one other claim to fame: Tying a major league record by striking out the first six batters he faced against the Phillies on May 1, 1980. But those Mets weren't very good. They lost that day, 2-1.
• Santana's home run to the right field corner came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat. The only other Met to homer to the right field corner at Citi Field is David Wright, who has done it twice this season.
Three other players have hit home runs on a 12th pitch this season -- Dan Uggla, Chris Coghlan (against the Mets) and Eli Whiteside.
Santana's home run is the deepest into a count that a Met has hit a home run this season. Despite this being his first home run, he's actually been a pretty decent hitter.
He's halfway to Ron Darling's team record of 20 doubles by a pitcher and his slugging percentage ranks among the best for a pitcher in Mets history.
Documentation of pitch-by-pitch data is inexact, with complete records only existing for about a decade. Research is ongoing (we've exhausted a large number of resources), trying to find a documented example of a pitcher hitting a home run in an at-bat lasting 12+ pitches. We haven't got one yet. If you find one, tweet us at @msimonespn
• We could only find 15 documented instances of a Mets batter hitting a home run in an at-bat lasting 10+ pitches (the earliest being by Kevin McReynolds in 1988, the most recent prior to Tuesday being Henry Blanco earlier this season), and only found one other on Baseball-Reference.com that was listed one in an at-bat lasting 12 pitches. That was hit by Roberto Alomar against the Expos on April 14, 2002.
• We have to admit that we were rooting just a little bit for a 1-0 shutout, since no ever Mets pitcher has ever thrown one AND hit a home run for the only run of the game.
It's something that has happened twice against the Mets -- once in 1965 when Hall of Famer Jim Bunning of the Phillies beat briefly-a-Met Warren Spahn, and once in 1971 when Cubs pitcher Juan Pizarro beat Tom Seaver.
• We should have known that this was going to happen against the Reds. Mets pitchers have homered seven times against the Reds, most recently by Steve Trachsel in 2006. That's the most popular team for a Met pitcher to homer against, edging out the Cubs and Braves by one.