Mike Trout is hoping his early season slump is over. Hector Santiago, meanwhile, is looking to build on a strong debut.
After hitting his first homer of 2016, Trout looks to continue hammering the Oakland Athletics and help the Los Angeles Angels to a third straight win Tuesday night.
Trout was 4 for 20 with two RBIs through the first six games but belted a mammoth two-run shot off ace Sonny Gray in Monday's 4-1 win at Oakland.
“If you get a pitch to hit, you can't miss it especially against him,” Trout said. “He can throw all his pitches for strikes. If you miss that one pitch, you put yourself in a hole.”
The 2014 AL MVP has made a habit of pounding A's pitching to the tune of a .392 average, a 1.241 OPS and 15 runs over the last 15 matchups. He's homered in each of the last two, driving in three runs.
Unlike Trout, Santiago is off to a solid start to the season. The left-hander allowed two earned runs and four hits with seven strikeouts in six-plus innings but received a no-decision in a 4-3 win over Texas on Thursday. The performance came after he posted a 2.89 ERA in seven starts during spring training, giving the Angels (3-4) some depth to the rotation.
“He was awesome,” Albert Pujols said. “If you look at his last two starts in spring training and that game he threw against the Dodgers, he reminded me of when he was with the White Sox. His velocity was up, he was pumping 93, 94 consistently, pounding the strike zone and using his cutter and changeup.”
Santiago is 3-1 with a 2.54 ERA in nine career starts against the A's (4-4). However, he gave up five runs and three walks in 2 2-3 innings of an 11-5 loss at Oakland on Aug. 31.
The A's have lost four of five at home, batting .204 with runners in scoring position after going 1 for 11 Monday.
Run support was absent in Kendall Graveman's season debut Thursday. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
“He pitched really well. We need to be better for Kendall when he's throwing that well,” catcher Stephen Vogt said.
Vogt surely felt that way when Graveman tossed his only complete game in his last matchup with the Angels on June 13. The only run he allowed came on a first-inning homer but the offense only managed two hits in a 1-0 loss.
Pujols is 4 for 6 with a homer off him.
Graveman hasn't won since July 4, going 0-6 with a 5.52 ERA in nine starts.
Josh Reddick is 5 for 12 with two homers and three RBIs over the last four games after getting two hits in the series opener. The right fielder is 5 for 13 off Santiago, but is 2 for 9 in the matchup over the last two years.