CLEVELAND - Johan Santana's numbers have skewed a little better over his career toward lefthanded hitters than they have most recently, a strange thing for a dominating lefthanded pitcher.
Nothing quite so strange as this season's splits for Santana, against whom lefthanders are hitting .292 (26-for-89) as opposed to righthanders, who are hitting .218 (55-for-252). Lefties are hitting .235 against Santana for his career, righties are hitting .222.
"You're seeing him do some things he doesn't normally do," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "Like the other night against [Travis] Hafner, he's ahead 1-and-2 and he makes a mistake. He's really been a better pitcher so far this season because he's had to be, since his stuff hasn't been there every time out."
Warthen did say that Santana fixed what the pitching coach called a "glitch" in Santana's delivery which improved Santana's dwindling velocity. He was routinely in the 90-91 mph range on Tuesday night.
"We're encouraged by what we saw last night with his velocity," Warthen said. "We all know he's a second-half pitcher and we fully expect to see that."
The shift for Davis
Ike Davis has been facing an infield shift pretty steadily over the last two weeks, with the opposing shortstop playing to the right of second base.
Davis tried to drop a bunt down the third-base line on Tuesday that rolled foul two pitches before he homered to center in the fifth inning. Jerry Manuel liked both of those plays. "I think, early in his career, I'd like to see him put a bunt down," Manuel said. "Maybe when he's established, when he still has on that (hit) chart a bunt or two or three, then you have to respect that. I thought he did a wise thing."
Manuel said he didn't think a shift for a player with fewer than 200 career at-bats made much sense. "To just go on that amount of history, I don't think that's wise," he said. "I kind of like it when they do it, really."