JOHAN HAS DONE IT!!!

The 8,020th time was the charm.

In their 51st season, the Mets finally have a no-hitter. Johan Santana tamed the NL’s top offense — pregame graphics showed the Cardinals leading the NL in BA, OBP, SLG, HRs and scoring — with a Herculean effort of 134 pitches, 9 more than he’d ever thrown in a big-league game, and 26 more than his longest outing this year, his first season since 2010 surgery on his torn anterior capsule.

With the pitch count — 120 through the 8th — looming in the mind of every Mets fan, announcer, coach and front-office man, the first out of the 9th took just 1 pitch, a soft liner to CF by Matt Holliday (who went 2-4 with a HR and double the last time they met). Allen Craig, coming off the DL with a .373 BA just in time to face Johan for the first time, blooped out to left on a 2-2 count. David Freese took 3 balls, then a strike at the knees. He fouled off another. And then Freese swung over a signature Johan change-up. Josh Thole, also fresh off the DL, held on. And then bedlam.

There was one sour note in the game: A ball that Carlos Beltran pulled down the 3B line in the 6th was ruled foul, but replays appeared to show the ball hitting chalk past the bag.

The other close call for Santana was a drive to deep left in the 7th that Mike Baxter snagged running full-speed into the padded wall. He crash-landed, face down, kicking his right leg in apparent agony, but the ball was in his glove. Baxter was down for a while before walking off on his own steam; he may have injured his left shoulder. Here’s hoping there’s no concussion.

The no-hitter wasn’t Johan’s only historic achievement tonight. He also became the first Met with consecutive shutouts since 1992, when David Cone did it twice in the first 2 months. (Cone had an NL-best 5 shutouts when he was traded in August.) The catch for this pursuit was that Johan used 120 pitches through 8 innings, well over his prescribed limit — so the no-no was the only path to finish the shutout.

He finished with 8 strikeouts and 5 walks, 2 more than any other start this year — but not from protecting the no-hitter. Four of the walks came before the first out of the 5th inning.

June 1, 2012 is a day that will live forever in Mets history, and the moment couldn’t have been authored by a more admirable Met. Thank you, Johan!

____________________

[The following is something I wrote after Santana’s previous start, a 96-pitch shutout, but I held it back for reasons I can’t recall. There’s no holding back now.]

A Brief Appreciation of Johan

There are a hundred and one things to admire about Johan Santana. Here’s just one:

He fields his position brilliantly.

Two reasons: One, he has an athlete’s instincts in an athlete’s body. Two, he finishes his delivery in textbook attitude.

Here’s what I love about that second reason: It’s a choice that shows team spirit. Now, there are many pitchers who fall off the mound after delivering, and by no means do I think they all could mend their ways without a loss of effectiveness. But I do think there are some who’ve never taken the matter seriously, who feel their talent is so special that they needn’t bother pursuing such small advantages as are to be got from a pitcher’s fielding.

But it’s not just about those few extra outs snagged by the pitcher. It’s also about the infielder who just knows he’s so quick and cannon-armed, he doesn’t need to pick up the catcher’s sign. It’s about the outfielder who shies from the wall too often [I thought about this as I watched Baxter slam into the wall tonight], or always goes for the glory of the baserunner kill instead of hitting the cutoff. And it’s about the catcher who glove-swipes at a bouncing curve with men on base instead of moving his feet and taking his lumps.

In other words, it’s about the self-multiplying value of showing respect and commitment to your team and teammates, through an attitude of professional humility that says, I am not so great that I can give away advantages and still hold my head up in the clubhouse.

And you can just tell — Johan means to hold his head up in the clubhouse. Always.

Leave a Reply

37 Comments on "JOHAN HAS DONE IT!!!"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Shping
Guest

Great, gutty performance, Johann!
Congrats to the Mets!
Enjoy the moment, John!

e pluribus munu
Guest

Fine tribute, John. Let’s hope this presages some Rushmore recarvings in time. After waiting 50 years to taste this, it’s savory.

John
Guest

It did happen.. right? I’m not dreaming?

James S
Guest

As someone who has been a Mets fan for about 41 of my 44 years.

This is AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RW
Guest

Great game but I don’t understand the comments that it couldn’t have happened to a better person. Wasn’t Johan hit with a rape allegation which he claimed was consensual? I guess that’s between him and his wife and doesn’t make him a bad person.

Phil
Guest

I’m glad for him, and glad for Mets fans, but…well, you know. Have there been any other no-hitters that depended on an indisputably missed call? Not balls-and-strikes stuff, but a clear hit that was taken away. Anyway, more than balanced by all the Cards’ league-leading numbers you point out.

Hartvig
Guest

And we all remember at least one perfect game lost by a badly missed call so perhaps in some unfathomable way the two offset each other.

anon
Guest

Basically the opposite, but have to mention Galarraga. >.<
"We may forgive, but we'll never forget"

Max
Guest

I have watched the highlights of this 10 times over and I will never ever get tired of watching them ever.

vivaeljason
Guest

I honestly never thought this was going to happen.

I am beyond happiness.

MHB
Guest

JA: Johan did not have Tommy John surgery; he had a torn anterior capsule repaired. Even rarer.

I missed watching the game, and it’s still sinking in. Gonna DVR that puppy when they re-air it on SNY tomorrow. What a great day for Met fandom!

Brett
Guest
The torn anterior capsule injury is not just more rare, but is nearly always career ending. I don’t have data on this, but I did hear that Santana is either the first player to ever make a comeback from this type of injury or the first player to come back with a minimum amount of success. These days, almost everyone makes a full recovery from Tommy John injury. I discovered this blog searching for data on shutouts in consecutive starts. It feels as rare as a no-hitter these days, but I suppose 30-50 years ago it was more common. John,… Read more »
nightfly
Guest
Consider all the amazing pitchers the Mets have had over the years… I almost expected that if this ever did happen, it would be some journeyman that was otherwise mediocre, someone we’d be really happy for but also half-regret was the one who finally pulled it off. You need a lot of luck to toss a no-hitter as it is. So in a way, I’m doubly happy that it was Johan Santana, a guy who’s overcome a lot to continue his career, and who is a highly-skilled pitcher and legit ace. I’m pleased the Mets’ first no-hitter is his.
MikeD
Guest

…and baseball being what it is, the Mets will now probably toss two more no-hitters this year. Maybe this week.

Ed
Guest

Congrats Johan and all Mets fans!!!

So are the Padres now the only team without a no-hitter???

Ed
Guest

Okay, answering my own question, yes they are.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Congratulations.
That being said, I watched the finish on mlb.com, and I found myself rooting for Freese to rip one into the gap. Streaks of futility (or, lack-of-exceptionality) are precious morsels of torture. Sad to see a good one fizzle away.

birtelcom
Editor

This only happened because here at HHS in the last few days we’ve pointed out that no Met has ever had a three-homer game at home. So the gods could safely end the no-hitter streak secure in the knowledge that there is another Mets streak of futility out there. At least until Duda hits three this afternoon.

Jason Z
Guest

Attention all true Mets fans.

The curse of Qualls is finally lifted.

Mike L
Guest

Not a mets fan (it’s a bit incompatible with being a Yankee fan). But i tuned in for the eight and ninth. Very gutty performance and a very nice moment. Good to see all the hard work be rewarded.

Latefortheparty
Guest

I didn’t get to check on the game until the bottom of the eight. Even as a Cardinals fan, I was compelled by the prospect. If my team’s going to be no hit, it’s good to see someone like Santana get the props.

Nash Bruce
Guest
Johan…… 😀 Is it too late to go back and cast my Mt. Rushmore vote for “Johan Santana(bwahahahaha)”? Yes. Yes, I think I will. 😀 I’ve said it before, but, I don’t ever understand why the Twins ever threw him away, when they knew that they had the new ballpark coming. The point was to spend money on players to compete?? And, I still think that he gives them a chance in the 2010 playoffs, and even in 2009, as they would have been in a better position to come into the playoffs somewhat rested, rather than winning their one-game… Read more »
Nash Bruce
Guest

(and ‘A Brief Appreciation Of Johan’ is a great piece.)

wpDiscuz