Please take a seat and make sure your chair is in the upright and locked position. What I’m about to tell you may cause light-headedness and, in some cases, whiplash. Ervin Santana is pitching really well. Yeah, that Ervin Santana. The 29-year-old righty has found and maintained his groove in the critical part of the season. In his last 10 starts, Santana has seven quality starts including Friday night’s gem against the White Sox.
Santana got his league mandated home run allowed out of the way early by teeing one up for the first hitter of the game, Alejandro De Aza. Santana leads the majors with 36 home runs allowed. That’s bad but it’s no 47 allowed like Bronson Arroyo in 2011. Silver linings, people. Santana settled down and only gave up one more hit and one walk while striking out 11 over seven innings. Perhaps the extra rest is the key to the recent success? Santana doesn’t think so nor did he understand why he got the eight days rest…
“Why, if I was pitching good? I don’t need any extra time. I don’t know, that’s their situation, what they want to do with the rotation. I have nothing to do with that. I’m just here to pitch. When they tell me to pitch, I pitch.”
He has a point too. Over his last 10 starts (64.1 innnings), Santana has a 3.08 ERA, .179 BA against and 57 strikeouts to 16 walks. *cough*cough*13 home runs*cough* Throat is dry. The Angels are 8-2 during that stretch. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson has a 6.38 ERA with 64 hits and 23 walks in 54.0 innings over his last 10 starts. But Wilson won’t have any starts skipped.
I’m not suggesting Santana is the most reliable or consistent arm in the rotation but there is something to be said for riding the hot hand. With 11 games to play and 3.5 out of the Wild Card, the Angels need some of that magic in a bottle. I’m three cliches short of a Halo Hangout paragraph record. Right now, Santana is playing the game the right way and just having fun out there. Just one more! Santana isn’t thinking about his option being picked either. He’s just doing his job when given the chance to pitch and win games. New record.
GM Jerry Dipoto may actually have to take a closer look at Santana’s $13 million club option for 2013 after this recent stretch of starts. Mike Scioscia seems to believe in the current version of Santana…
“I think he’s found his stuff as the season has gone on. He’s worked his way into his stuff,” Scioscia said, citing “release-point issues” as the cause of Santana’s struggles. “I think now his toolbox is filled with things he’s done in the past and he’s doing now.
“He got into that rut in the middle of the season and it was just really tough for him to repeat pitches and get ahead in counts. The ball wasn’t coming out as crisp as it is now. The consistency of his breaking ball wasn’t there. I don’t know how many starts it is but his last eight, nine, 10 starts are what we expect.”
Not too long ago it seemed like a foregone conclusion Santana’s option would not be picked up. I’m starting to warm to the idea of keeping him for one more season. There almost has to be some regression next year from his current 18.4% HR/FB to his career 10.7% HR/FB. You’d hope so anyway unless, of course, you’re a hitter on any team other than the Angels.