"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Johan Santana is on fire. (Figuratively! Settle down, everyone.)

He leads the league in strikeouts with 114. His nearest "competition" is Randy Johnson, with 73. Who's the Big Unit now, Randy, you traitorous pinstriped bastard? Er...ahem. Pardon. Back to Johan.

Our darling boy has pitched 13 starts and 92 1/3 innings as of this writing, for a strikeouts per start average of 8.7, strikeouts per inning average of 1.2, and strikeouts per nine innings average of 11.1. Zounds!

But strikeouts aren't everything, and without delving into the vast array of numbers available for consideration, I think we can all agree that Johan's been pitching has, in general, been noticeably better lately. He had a rough April, and early May wasn't kind, either. But last night's 10-0 complete game shutout seemed like the natural product of a talent that's been blossoming with the coming of summer.

Much has been made in the media lately of how Johan is pitching better now that the weather is warmer. They say, he's from Venezuela! He's not used to the cold! He can't perform at his peak when he's chilly!

This does not explain his 4.25 ERA at the always-70 Metrodome. Nor does it explain his 2.52 road ERA, which of necessity includes every one of those chilly starts he had to endure early in the season.

I mention this as food for thought. I intend to offer no explanation, for I do not have one. But I cannot believe the Johan-was-cold myth.

Johan was, and remains, hot.

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