Johan Santana and Jerry Manuel Get Beaned by Daily News

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Give the guy a break!
There are some curious grades in today's Daily News midseason report on the Mets and Yankees.

Andy Martino, evaluating the Mets, gives Johan Santana just a B+.

And Jerry Manuel gets just a B-?

So why just a B+ for Santana? Apparently because he's only 7-5. But Santana has posted a fine 2.98 ERA, and if you take out one bad game — a 10-run disaster against the Phillies — he's all the way down to 2.60. A pitcher can only control what he does to other batters, not the support he gets from his team.

More inexplicable is Jerry Manuel's B- because "he failed to convince [Jose] Reyes to commit to batting third, insulted [John] Maine by joking that the injured pitcher should pitch on off days, and showed strange strategic tendencies, particularly with the bullpen."

Look, Andy, Jose's failure to take to batting third is an attitude problem on his part, not a fault of Manuel's.

Maine has an ERA of 6.13, and Jerry was just joking. And as erratic as the Mets' bullpen has been, any strategic tendencies open to a manager are bound to be strange.

The way Reyes and Jason Bay have been hitting most of the season, and as unpredictable as the pitching staff has been, we have to conclude that Manuel is the glue that's held this team together so far. He deserves an A+ more than any other manager in the National League.

"We have learned that these Mets are an entertaining team," writes Martino, "but we don't yet know how good they are." Well, now that Carlos Beltran is back, we'll find out.

As for Mark Feinsand's Yankees scorecard, why is there a minus next to C.C. Sabathia's A?

The Big Man is 12-3 and leading the American League in wins. Who cares now if he had a poor five-start stretch in May? Does he have to go 13-1 to get an A+?

Ditto with Phil Hughes, who gets graded down to A- for . . . what, exactly? Hughes is 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA. Forget that he was 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA through his first five decisions. Back during spring training, if you thought he'd be 11-2 at the All-Star break, wouldn't you have graded him A+? I would have.

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