Hector Santiago's woes continue in Angels' loss to Texas
MAY 03, 2014 2:44a ET
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It hasn't been a memorable start to the 2014 season for Angels starter Hector Santiago in his first campaign with the Angels.
Although his performance on the mound isn't indicative of his 0-5 record, there's been a pitch here or a pitch there and a freak play here or a freak play there to contribute to his winless start.
Friday as the Angels began their three-game series against the Rangers, it was more shoulda, coulda, woulda's for Santiago and the Angels in their 5-2 loss to Texas.
Santiago was cruising through five innings and nursing a 2-0 lead when he gave up a solo home run to Shin-Soo Choo to lead off the sixth.
After the retiring the next two batters, he got Rangers cleanup hitter Prince Fielder to hit what appeared to be a routine ground ball which would have been the third out of the inning.
Instead the Angels were in a shift and Erick Aybar had to make a long run to his right to field the ball and didn't have enough time to make the throw as Fielder legged out a rare infield single leaving Santiago visibly frustrated on the mound.
He'd seen this movie before, facing Fielder in the past when they were both in the American League Central, the shift had contributed to Fielder's success against him.
Moreover, Fielder's ground ball in the sixth inning on Friday should've gotten Santiago out of the inning.
"Prince has done the same thing to me for a while -- you beat him and he beats you," Santiago said. "I think every hit he's got off me is right in the same spot where they can make the play but they ran so far, routine ground ball but he beats it out."
The next batter was Santiago's former teammate Alex Rios and he sent a 2-1 changeup over the fence in center field to give the Rangers their first lead of the night, 3-2 and they never looked back.
Making matters worse, Santiago second guessed himself. He wanted to go with the slider instead of the changeup and it cost him.
If the shift wasn't on, he would've been out of the inning. If he'd stuck with his gut his 2-1 offering to Rios might have stayed in play.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda Santiago can only live with the results.
"You're going through five, cruising, kind of, going easy and then all of a sudden it just turns around and winds up being a bad day," he said. "We've had some, definitely, tough luck. We're not trying to make excuses and I'm not. Just some tough luck and hopefully it starts turning around."
The loss, while frustrating for Santiago, could be even more damaging for the club. Third baseman David Freese was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the third inning. He left the game with a small, non-displaced fracture on the middle finger of his right hand.
Freese, who was 1 for 1 on Friday, extended his hitting streak to six games and is batting .333 in his last nine games. It's quite the turnaround from his .136 batting average through the first 16 games of the season. He's hopeful he won't be placed on the disabled list.
"If you're going to get a slight fracture it's in a good spot, I guess, is a positive way to look at it," Freese said following the game with his right middle finger in a splint.