Sunday, September 16, 2007

First Inning Dooms Santana, Twins

It seems like Johan Santana has been struggling of late in the first inning, and after a little research, I found it to be true. In his last five starts, Santana has allowed 17 earned runs in 34 innings (4.50 ERA) and a 1.29 WHIP. Here are his stats over that span, broken down between the first inning and the rest of the game:

1st inning- 5.0 innings, 13 hits, 3 walks, 3.20 WHIP, 12 runs, 21.60 ERA, 4 home runs
After 1st inning- 29 innings, 22 hits, 6 walks, 0.97 WHIP, 5 runs, 1.55 ERA, 3 home runs

Clearly, there is a huge difference. 71% of the runs he has allowed were scored in the first inning, along with 37% of the hits and 57% of the home runs, while first innings represent only 15% of his total innings pitched. And only once in the five has he gotten out of the first inning without giving up a run. Whatever is causing Santana's struggles in the first inning needs to be fixed, because without that inning, he has been better than spectacular. In yesterday's game in particular, he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and a walk in the first frame, and then proceeded to pitch 7 scoreless innings in which he gave up just two hits and a walk.

As for the rest of the game, the offense managed only six hits, including an 0-12 from Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau, and accumulated only one RBI. The Twins scored on a wild pitch, throwing error, and a groundout. The only bright spot was Nick Punto got two hits to prop his average up to a hefty .202. Actually, that's probably a bad thing; that might mean Alexi Casilla will ride the bench for the rest of the year.

As for Sunday's game, this post is very late, and it's already started, so I'll just say they're down 3-0 in the second inning. Jeez!

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