Thursday, March 28, 2013

Johan Santana And Bad White Sox Memories




On Thursday night the Mets announced that Johan Santana will likely miss the entire 2013 season after it was discovered he suffered a probable re-tear of his left shoulder capsule. It's a devastating blow to Santana because it's not just 2013 in jeopardy here.

This latest injury could signal the end of his career, and if that's the case it will be a shame.

While Johan's time with the Mets has been filled with injuries, White Sox fans will never forget the Johan Santana they saw for years in a Twins uniform. The years where the diminutive left-hander tortured White Sox hitters and fans with one of the most effective changeups the game of baseball has ever seen.

There are many times throughout the course of a season -- hell, a game -- when we'll hear Hawk Harrelson say that some random player is the best he's ever seen in all or parts of seven decades at something. Whether it's hitting the 2-1 curveball with an eye closed, or hitting the cut-off man while swatting a hornet away from his face, but the one time Hawk would make such a statement and be telling you the actual truth was when he talked about Santana's change.

It was gorgeous.

There was no change in his motion, and absolutely no giveaway that it was coming. His fastball delivery and changeup delivery looked exactly the same, with the only difference being that the change would drop off the face of the Earth the moment you began swinging at it.

He was the perfect storm of nightmare opponents for the White Sox, because the Sox have always had a weakness for lefties with a changeup, and Santana was the perfect nemesis.

A fact that is reflected in his career numbers.

Johan has pitched 2,025.2 innings in his career, with 158.1 one them coming against the White Sox. In his 28 games and 22 starts against the Sox Johan went 13-6 with a 3.24 ERA and 1.023 WHIP.

Johan won more games (13) and threw more strikeouts (172) against the White Sox than he did any other team.

His dominance of the Sox was so great that you could argue the White Sox were the actual winners of the trade that sent him to New York for Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber -- yep -- Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

Maybe one day he'll be back to torture and astonish us again.

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