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522-game-thread-all-we-have-to-do-to-sweep-is-beat-johan-santana | May | 2008 Articles

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5/22 Game Thread: All We Have to Do to Sweep Is Beat Johan Santana

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Well, we've gotten the hard part out of the way, beating John Maine, Claudio Vargas, and Mike Pelfrey. Like Jeff Francoeur last night, we're just a triple double short of the cycle. All we have to do to complete a four-game sweep and send the entire Mets fan base into paroxysms of despair -- possibly getting their manager fired in the process, and even GM Omar Minaya is starting to get dragged in -- is beat some guy named Johan Santana. Pshaw. Like we haven't done that before. Tim Hudson goes tonight. His season has been a bit maddening. Mostly, he's twirled outright gems, but he's peppered them with a couple of stinkers where his fastball velocity mysteriously vanishes and so does his control of the lower half of the strike zone. His last time out was one such start. Fortunately, he's followed each of these with a fine performance, and considering the way the Mets are reeling -- with their best hitter, Ryan Church, out last night following his concussion in Tuesday's game -- they'll be a good team to help him to get his confidence back. How schizophrenic has Hudson's season been? Well, by at least one measure, average game score per start, he's having the best year of his Braves career. This is borne out by his ERA and ERA+, both better than his previous best marks, set during his terrific 2007 campaign. However, his games have been very up and down. (Sorry to get statistical on you here.) His average game score is higher than it's ever been in a Braves uniform (56.4), but so are the standard deviation and standard error of that average, which means that the variance between the best and worst is greater than usual. That all means it's hard to know which Hudson you're going to get: the one who pitched the best game, by game score, in the NL this year (5/2, 9 IP, 3 H, 10 K, 0 BB, 0 ER), or the one who gave up 5 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks in 5 innings his last time out, who struggled to hit 90 on the radar gun or to throw anything that wasn't belt-high. But he's been awfully good for us on the whole, so odds are he'll do pretty well tonight. Meanwhile, with our full-on Mets beatdown the last three games, we've reclaimed our spot leading the league in BA (tied with the weirdly successful Cardinals, who won't keep it up) and in ERA. We're second in the majors in both, second in BA only to the Red Sox, and in ERA only to the Athletics. We've got a pretty good team, folks. Now let's make the Mets hate themselves a little more.

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