July 6, 2004

He Looked Good in the Boxscore

I had a big night planned. I had some turkey sandwiches and chips to eat, a big-screen TV to watch, and a full slate of programming.

First, at 7 p.m., the Twins versus the Royals, with Johan "The Official Pitcher of Aaron's Baseball Blog" Santana going up against Zack Greinke, a 20-year-old rookie who I ranked as the #13 prospect in baseball before the season.

Then, at 8 p.m., the first hour of the 2004 World Series of Poker on ESPN. As I've said before here, I am a big poker fan and I loved watching last year's WSOP. I wasn't sure how I was going to manage watching both at the same time, but I was excited to try.

So you know what happened? It started to rain a little bit outside, there were some dark skies and clouds, and my DirecTV went out. I kept the TV tuned to the Twins game and, every 10 minutes or so, the signal would come back on and I'd get to see a 94 MPH fastball blow by someone. And then it would go blank again.

No Twins. No Royals. No Johan. No Greinke. No poker. I did, however, eat both turkey sandwiches and all the chips.

Now, the really sad thing about all this is not that I missed the game, missed the poker or missed watching my favorite pitcher, but that Santana had an incredible, dominating game. In fact, statistically speaking (and that's the only way I can speak, since I didn't see it), it was the single best performance of his career.

 IP     H     R     ER     BB     SO     HR     PIT

9.0 3 0 0 2 13 0 114

It was not only Johan's first career shutout, it was his first ever complete game. The 13 strikeouts tied a career-high, too.

Santana is on an incredible role right now and he is showing exactly why I've devoted thousands of words to him over the past two years and seemingly made hyping and promoting him my life's work.

Here's what he's done in his last seven starts, dating back to June 3 ...

GS     W     L      ERA       IP     SO     BB     OAVG

7 5 2 1.98 54.2 71 10 .145

Johan is doing me proud. Breaking it down even further, Santana has 10+ strikeouts in four straight starts, for a total of 47 strikeouts in 32 innings.

With last night's shutout, Santana finally has his season ERA down below 4.00 for the very first time. He is 7-5 with a 3.89 ERA in 18 starts, with 125 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 115.2 innings.

Here are Santana's current American League ranks ...

- 1st in Strikeouts (125)

- 3rd in Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio (4.31-to-1)

- 8th in Innings Pitched (115.2)

- 12th in ERA (3.89)

- 13th in Wins (7)

And all of that is after he started the year with a 2-3 record and a 5.40 ERA in April and 5.79 ERA in May. The man is rolling, folks. Move aside and let The Man go through.

UPDATE: The DirecTV signal is still out, DirecTV has been called, and a DirecTV "service" person is scheduled to come here for the second time in two weeks. The "next available opening" was not, of course, today, which means I can't watch a damn thing until tomorrow night, at the earliest. Anyone know the number of a good cable company?

New article at The Hardball Times: The Magic Twenty (Shortstop)

Today's picks:

Oakland (Redman) +200 over Boston (Martinez)

Chicago (Schoeneweis) -105 over Anaheim (Washburn)

Kansas City (Reyes) +160 over Minnesota (Lohse)

Total to date: -$2,345

W/L record: 121-158 (1-2 yesterday for +60, thanks to a big win with Denny Stark over Jason Schmidt.)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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