The Angels saw their season-high eight game winning streak come to and end on Wednesday against the New York Yankees in a 6-5 loss. While the loss didn’t put a damper on the positive turnaround of their season, as they rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at 5, but there was a troubling continuation of one of the frustrating stumbling blocks the Angels can’t seem to get over.
During the third inning, Ervin Santana labored to get the Yankees out, throwing 48 pitches and surrendering a pair of home runs to Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson. The home runs we’re number 14 and 15 surrendered by Santana this season, the highest mark in all of baseball, which has ballooned Santana’s ERA up over 4 on his way to a 2-6 record. At this pace, Santana will shatter his previous high for home runs allowed in a season of 27, set in 2010. Santana, however, doesn’t seem to be concerned.
“I’m a home-run pitcher,” Santana said. “I’m a power pitcher, and if they make good contact, that’s where it’s going to end up
Mike Scioscia agrees, and sees the home-run totals as a by-product of Santana challenging hitters. Scioscia worries that if the veteran righty abandons his aggressive approach, it will only exacerbate the issues by tacking on walks ahead of the home-runs. The manager feels that Santana is more successful when he is aggressive, and after seeing how it’s worked for him this season, you can imagine what a trainwreck he would be if he stopped.
Santana has long been a consistent presence in the Angels rotation. He has always been a reliable arm for Scioscia, which is why he got rewarded with the third starter spot ahead of free-agent acquisition C.J. Wilson coming out of spring training. But he hasn’t lived up to the role, arguably being the fifth best starter the Angels have used this season (and maybe the sixth depending on Garrett Richards‘ first start), and something needs to change.
The team burned through much of any leeway they had in the AL West race with their horrible start, so something more than a “yeah whatever” is needed from Santana about his bad stuff. Changes have to happen with his approach or his delivery, or he could be the victim of a change to the rotation.