On August 19th, Johan Santana had one of those “games.” In his start that day, he whiffed 17 of the 26 batters that he faced.
In the 7 games that followed that start, which was the rest of the games that Johan pitched in 2007, Santana had an ERA of 5.11 in 44 IP. In those 7 games, he allowed an opponent’s OPS of .814 in 190 PA.
Going into that 17-K game, in 25 starts, Santana had an ERA of 3.02 in 167 IP. In those 25 games, he allowed an opponent’s OPS of .662 in 676 PA.
It’s pretty safe to say that Johan Santana was a different pitcher after that 17-K game (compared to how he was going into it).
The question that the Yankees should be asking themselves: Is this a situation that can be addressed via the rest of an off-season, or, did Santana do something to himself in that 17-K effort that will have a longer impact on his effectiveness?
Then again, maybe it’s all small sample size stuff, right?
But, what if it’s not?