At least this time it was quick and painful.
Just over two weeks ago, Sergio Santos and the Blue Jays let a game get away from them in rather excruciating fashion; eight walks in one inning, three wild pitches, and one rough night for Sergio Santos. It was death by a thousand paper cuts.
While the result from last night was ultimately a loss for the Blue Jays, Sergio Santos got beat by the Pirates. In that meltdown against the Twins, Santos beat himself.
Versus the Twins, Sergio Santos kept going back to his slider time and time again, which led to many pitches in the dirt. It was quite the opposite last night, as Santos predominantly used his fastball, which did not fool the Pirates hitters whatsoever.
Most would agree Santos merely has the interim closer tag until Casey Janssen returns, but in the meantime I think John Gibbons has to make a change when it comes to save situations. It might be just to keep up appearances, but he can’t keep running Santos out there.
Moving forward, Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar are the logical choices to hand the ball to from now on in save situations. Employing a “closer by committee” strategy until Casey Janssen returns is a safe bet.
It’s odd because last season when he was the setup man to Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos was virtually lights-out. But for whatever reason when it comes to protecting a lead late in the game, Santos has faltered on many occasions.
In non-save situations last season, Sergio Santos sported a 1.02 ERA while giving up just six hits in 16 games. Santos was nearly unhittable in non-save situations last season, as he struck out 19 batters along the way.
Albeit he pitched just over 25 innings in 2013, but those results were promising enough to make one feel a little bit better about having Casey Janssen on the disabled list to begin the season.
This year is a completely different story. With Casey Janssen on the shelf, Santos has been the defacto closer for the Blue Jays and it hasn’t been pretty. In save situations, Sergio Santos owns a 14.21 ERA in nine games.
It was Santos’ injury in 2012 which opened the door for Casey Janssen to come in and become the Blue Jays closer the past two seasons. Strangely enough, Janssen evolved into one of the best late-inning relievers in the league.
You’d never think that because Santos is the one with the electric fastball and the devastating slider. And yet Casey Janssen can locate his four-seam fastball and cutter with ease and he thrives off locating his pitches.
In that respect, Casey Janssen is the Mark Buehrle of closers.
It won’t be long before Casey Janssen returns, but I’m afraid any sort of trade value Sergio Santos accumulated over the offseason has dwindled. If the Blue Jays were planning on dealing Santos this season, they likely won’t get much for him now.
Sergio Santos can be a great reliever at times and can be an integral part of the bullpen; I just don’t think he has the control to be a closer anymore. His stuff seems better suited for the seventh or eighth inning, preferably with nobody on base.
Image courtesy of Zimbio