Yes, we can all admit right now that there was a hangover in place after Johan Santana's no-hitter on June 1. He struggled in two outings immediately after that game. Reasons became to pour in as to why this was the case. Too tired after throwing 134 pitches. Too sore of a shoulder from that. Too strong because of the extra days off he received. Too much hype and distraction.
It was one of those, or a combination. But it doesn't matter now, it's all over. Santana finished the month of June with another solid, top notch outing last night. He allowed only three hits in eight innings, shutting down the Dodgers lineup a day after R.A. Dickey did the same exact thing.
Santana will get one more start before the All-Star break and then will be able to get a much needed breather and rest for his surgically repaired left shoulder. For both Santana and Mets, the upcoming second half has so much on the line.
For Santana, it's financial. He is due around $23 million in 2013 and he must prove that he is worth every penny of it. For the Mets, they are in the thick of a pennant race. Now just 2.5 games behind Washington, the Mets need the fans to return to Citi Field and to continue to show their renewed love to the beleaguered franchise.
The Mets go for the sweep tonight. Another nationally televised game. ESPN prime time.