Right-hander Ervin Santana has started three games for the Angels this season and lost each of them.
So why isn’t there any hand wringing over a pitcher with an 0-3 record and a 6.75 ERA?
Because of mistakes – one here, one there, and suddenly, a good performance turns sour.
That’s what has happened to Santana, who has been unable to feed off the productive starts of fellow pitchers Jered Weaver and CJ Wilson. Those two, plus No. 5 starter Jerome Williams are a combined 6-2; Santana and Dan Haren are 0-4.
“Ervin’s stuff looks good,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think a lot has to change for him to give this team a chance to win – just minimize his mistakes.”
There have been a few of those, although Santana will have a chance to change his luck Tuesday in Tampa Bay when he opposes Rays left-hander David Price (2-1, 4.20).
Location, especially on his fastball, has been his primary problem. Santana has given up three runs in the first inning of each of his starts, and those lapses have put the Angels in holes they’ve had difficulty overcoming.
Wednesday night against the Oakland A’s, for example, he allowed back-to-back bloop singles in the first, then served up a home run to Yoenis Cespedes. The Angels lost 6-0, although only four of the runs belonged to Santana, who pitched seven innings.
“It was a good outing,” Santana said. “Anytime you give up four runs or less, it’s a good outing. We just have to score runs.”
That’s been easier said than done for the Angels, who completed a 3-4 homestand against the A’s and Baltimore Orioles by scoring three runs or less in four of the seven games. In their past 14 games, the Angels are hitting .215 with runners in scoring position (28 for 130). They’re also tied for last in the American League in home runs (11) and tied for ninth in runs scored (67).
The problem for Santana is that he gives up runs. He has an 87-70 career record but a 4.25 ERA. In each of his six full seasons, he’s served up 20 or more home runs and this season already has allowed six in 18 2/3 innings, tied for most in the AL.
Scioscia said the main problem is Santana’s command of his fastball. Fix that and he should see better results.
“It’s all connected with his delivery,” Scioscia said. “His stuff is good. At times, it just gets away from him with his command and his location.
“He can make a quick fix.”
Given the Angels’ 6-10 start and last place standing in the AL West, a quick fix by Santana would be more than welcome.