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Santana On Short Rest: Yea or Nay?

Let's play You Make the Call again... If you're the Mets, would you be starting Johan Santana today on short rest, as they did today?

Here is the argument against it: 1) In reality, you still need to win twice -- since you trail the Brewers by one in the wild card race -- and Santana can only start once, so you might as well as save him for Sunday, when he can pitch on full rest. 2) You made a very expensive, long-term investment in him, and it could be risky to ask him to do something he has never done before in his career (in the regular season). 3) You pushed him to 125 pitches, a career-high, in his previous start. If anything, he could use extra rest after that effort.

Now the argument for it: 1) With two games to play, your choices for starters are either Santana and Oliver Perez, both on short rest, or rookie Jonathan Niese and Santana. 2) This is why you signed Santana in the first place -- to lift the team in its time of desperation. 3) Santana, according to Manager Jerry Manuel, has practically begged for the ball, and at the very least he has said publicly he welcomes it.

And there is also this aspect: If the Mets pitch Santana on short rest and wind up getting into the playoffs, they can start him twice (Games 2 and 5) in the NLDS on full rest. If they hold him until Sunday, and they get in, he can only pitch once on full rest in the NLDS. I know you're not supposed to think ahead like it, but in the Mets' case, given the state of their rotation, they almost certainly know they can't win a first-round series without starting Santana twice.

That last fact tips the scales for me: Go for it with Santana today. Should be some great theater.

What do you think?

By Dave Sheinin  |  September 27, 2008; 3:06 PM ET
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IIRC, he has not had success in the playoffs pitching on short rest. It's desparate, but hey, the Mets are desparate. Got to find a way to get your two best arms (JS and OP) in now, or you may end up never using OP. It's the right call even if it does not work.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 27, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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