PITTSBURGH -- Nine times this season, Johan Santana has taken the mound for the Mets. Seven times, he has delivered a quality start, narrowly missing one Monday. But just once has Santana scored a win, taking two losses and six no-decisions.
Chalk that up to luck and a lack of run support, in addition to the fact that Santana has completed seven innings just once -- not coincidentally, in his only victory.
"I've been getting better and feeling better every time I'm out there," Santana said. "We still have some way to go, and I've just got to continue improving and getting better and getting a feeling for it. I still feel that I have some work to do with my command, especially with my fastball."
The Mets are thrilled simply that Santana is continuing to take the ball every five days, even if he has not been entirely dominant. With so many questions surrounding Santana's surgically repaired left shoulder coming into this season, the Mets can hardly afford to nitpick his performances.
"We haven't won the games that we'd like to have won, but we're capitalizing, make no mistake," manager Terry Collins said. "He's getting us deep into games. He keeps us where we want to. We have a chance to win games, and he's doing his job. He's doing his job very, very effectively."