White Sox-Angels preview
ANAHEIM, Calif. — It was exactly one year ago as the Los Angeles Angels were about to embark on the second half of the season after the All-Star break that Angels left-hander Hector Santiago was on top of the world.
Santiago rejoined the team for the second half after spending a few days in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game. He was 6-4 in 18 games (17 starts) with a 2.88 ERA and had been named to his first major league All-Star Game.
Santiago, though, goes into Friday's start against the Chicago White Sox in a completely different situation. He has not been the same pitcher he was the first half of 2015. Since then, he is 9-9 with a 4.96 ERA, including 6-4 with a 4.58 ERA this season.
But he's shown enough of what he can do.
Santiago shut out the Tampa Bay Rays on three hits over seven innings in his last start July 7 and he likely will be a target for teams looking to make deals before the non-waiver trading deadline on Aug. 1.
At 37-52, the Angels are in last place in the American League West, holding a record better only than the Rays and Twins in the American League. Though Angels' general manager Billy Eppler refuses to say he will be a seller in the market as the deadline approaches, he uses language that doesn't hide the direction the Angels are likely to go.
“We'll continue to invest,” Eppler told MLB.com. “We'll invest throughout this season, with a mind for this season, with a mind for the future and this winter, with a mind towards competing and contending year in and year out.
Miguel Gonzalez will get the start for the White Sox, who find themselves in the middle of the wild-card race, 4 1/2 games behind wild-card leaders Boston and Toronto. And the White Sox aren't out of the A.L. Central race either, trailing division leader Cleveland by seven games.
Gonzalez's numbers going in do not look great as he is 2-4 with a 4.39 ERA. Those numbers have improved slightly thanks to two solid starts going into the break.
On July 1 against the Houston Astros, Gonzalez gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings though he was tagged with the loss. Then on July 7 against the New York Yankees, Gonzalez threw seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk in a 5-0 victory.
Gonzalez initially wasn't scheduled to get Friday's start; that was going to go to Jose Quintana. But when Quintana was added to the All-Star team as an injury replacement, Gonzalez got the nod.
The White Sox are hoping to add a left-handed bat to their lineup and might not have to make a deal to get one. Justin Morneau, the 2006 A.L. MVP signed the club June 9, could be in the White Sox lineup very soon, having recovered from surgery on his elbow.
In the meantime, the White Sox will look to be more consistent. They began 23-10, lost 26 of their next 36 before finishing the first half with 12 wins in 19 games.
“It was good, then it was bad, then it started getting good again,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said.