Angels P Santiago continues to stay in his lane
Hector Santiago was able to stay in his lane on Friday night.
It's become imperative that he do so. Before every start, Santiago takes the hill and with his glove draws two lines in the dirt from the rubber down towards the start of the mound.
It's a constant reminder.
"When I land in between there (and) not falling off to the third base side, not falling off to the first base side, it keeps my direction and gives me better command," Santiago explained.
The Angels lefty didn't have any issues staying in his lane on Friday night, although he didn't factor in a decision, in the Angels 5-4 series opening win over Oakland.
Santiago tossed 5.2 innings, allowed seven hits, two earned runs, walked one, and struck out six while continuing his success against Oakland as an Angel. He's 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six starts against Oakland in an Angels uniform.
The fourth inning, however, was problematic for him. Santiago retired the first two batters of the inning âBilly Butler on a fly out to left and Stephen Vogt on a called strike three.
Somewhere during the next at-bat, things unraveled a bit.
Carlos Perez wanted a pitch up, Santiago left it in the middle of the plate. Brett Lawrie fouled it off.
Santiago pointed to himself with his glove âthe same one he earlier drew two lines in the dirt with âand looked at his catcher as if to say "my bad."
The next pitch, Brett Lawrie sent over the left field fence to tie the game 1-1.
Four pitches later, Josh Phegley left the yard, too. A's took a 2-1 lead.
It's not about what happened next. It's more about what didn't happen.
Santiago will live with a start in which he allows just two runs. Thankfully, for him, both of the home runs were solo shots and he was able to keep the Angels in the game.
The pitches he made, he says, weren't bad pitches. And he was able to stay in his lane during both home run offerings.
The bleeding, however, was kept to a minimum which, likely, wouldn't have been the case in the past.
"Two solo home runs is better than two three-run home runs," Santiago said. "Two years ago I would've, probably, gave up a home run then walked the next two guys and give up a three-run home run. That's the difference between the couple years before and this year. It's just attacking the next guy, forgetting about the last at-bat and going after the next guy.
"You can't take back the home run. The only thing you can do is get the next guy out."
Santiago continues to get guys out. His 2.59 ERA leads the Angels rotation and on Friday he was able to stay in his lane despite it being his first start in nine days.