<
>

Double Play: On Johan and Young concerns

Each week, ESPN.com senior baseball editor Matt Meyers (@mtmeyers) and ESPN New York blogger Mark Simon (@msimonespn) discuss issues and make predictions related to the upcoming week for the New York Mets.

1. Are you concerned about the short and long-term implications of Johan Santana overshooting his pitch count in his no-hitter last Friday?

Meyers: I think Johan will be just fine. He threw 134 pitches -- which is a lot in total -- but it's also roughly 15 pitches per inning. That's decent pacing. Had he thrown 100 pitches through 6 IP (about 17 pitches per inning), no one would say a word. Not all pitch counts are created equal, and 134 over 9 is not crazy.

Simon: On behalf of all neurotic pitch-count obsessives, let me say that I am concerned, though not to the point that I would limit him in the next start. There were inevitably going to be some nervous moments with Santana’s return. This will be the first, especially knowing that he’s allowed 13 runs in his last two starts at Yankee Stadium.

2. What’s your take on Chris Young’s return?

Meyers: I'm fairly bearish on Young, and have no reason to believe he will be any better than Jeremy Hefner. That said, he can probably be serviceable, and the Mets need a little starting pitching depth. But fans shouldn't hold their collective breath hoping the Young they saw for a few weeks in 2011 will be here for the rest of 2012.

Simon:I’m a bit disappointed because I’d dubbed Young as “The Greatest Pitcher in Mets history … minimum four starts” in anticipation of his never pitching for the team again.

Seriously, I’d expect good things … as long as he’s healthy. Young is an extraordinarily difficult pitcher for most to hit, regardless of how hard he throws because of how he hides the ball and the way he uses his lanky frame. I’ve talked with multiple people who worked with him and they rave about his intelligence and coachability. Now he just needs to stay on the field for 20 starts.

3. Make a prediction for the upcoming week.

Meyers: The Mets will not have a pitcher throw a no-hitter -- and no one will care.

Simon: Jason Bay will have at least one good game within his first couple of games back. We’ll say that it comes Sunday against Andy Pettitte and the Yankees against whom he’s 14-for-32 with a home run in his career. His .438 batting average against Pettitte is his second-best against pitchers whom he has at least 20 at-bats against.