Santana’s pitch is a good one

first_imgYet there are a number of red flags that exist. In back-to-back starts late last month, Santana gave up five runs in each. And in one of those, he only lasted a third of an inning against the Mariners. The right-hander gave up nine runs in a start against the New York Yankees in July and with the likelihood that he could be pulled from the rotation, his response was to give up seven runs and 14 hits to the Devil Rays. He was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake the next day. This outing against the Devil Rays was much different; Santana looks to be riding an upswing of confidence at the perfect time. “He has the tools to go out there and compete now,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “At times you feel you’re out there naked if the ball’s not coming out of your hand (correctly) and your command’s not there and your breaking ball is maybe a little bit sloppy. “When his mechanics are together you can see how he can just control the flow of the game. He did it in Boston (Aug. 17) and he did it against these guys this afternoon.” Had it not been for Bartolo Colon’s stiff back, Santana might not have had the chance to showcase himself. Colon took over Wednesday’s spot in the rotation last week and was expected to finish the season in that role. Santana was supposed to get a look out of the bullpen, which is where he likely will be used if he makes the playoff roster. If Santana keeps this rotation spot until the end of the season – Scioscia was noncommittal – he would be in line to make two more starts, Monday at Texas and on the final day of the season at Oakland. Anything close to what he did Wednesday might get Santana into October and possibly leave right-hander Dustin Moseley on the outside looking in. “If the playoffs weren’t in the picture, no matter what, my job was to finish strong with this team and I wanted to get the opportunity,” Santana said through broadcaster Jose Mota, who was serving as interpreter. “I was able to get the opportunity and hopefully this is a good end to the regular season. For my career, this is very important.” The Angels might use all of the available time to decide if Santana will see a mound in October. Division Series rosters are due to the league office on the day of the Angels’ first postseason game. They become official once lineup cards are exchanged before the game. “Right now, it’s the regular season and I don’t want to talk about the playoffs,” Santana said. “I know there is somebody taking the mound (today) and once we get to the playoffs there will be more time for that.” The Angels inched closer to that reality by getting just enough offense. Juan Rivera hit a second-inning home run to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. Mathis’ run-scoring single put the Angels up, 2-0, in the fourth. The Devil Rays closed the gap to a run on a fifth-inning home run from Jonny Gomes. Santana weathered a bases-loaded situation in the sixth inning, then relievers Darren Oliver, Justin Speier and Francisco Rodriguez held the Devil Rays without a hit over the final 22/3 innings. Rodriguez earned his 37th save. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BASEBALL: Righty is sharp in beating the Devil Rays, making playoff roster decisions tougher. By Doug Padilla STAFF WRITER The Ervin Santana quandary continues for the Angels’ coaching staff as an official playoff spot draws near. The Angels’ 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday reduced their magic number for clinching the division to three. It also means the champagne is now chilling, waiting for an inevitable clubhouse celebration. Simply put, if the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners twice during a four-game series that starts tonight at Angel Stadium, a playoff berth and the American League West crown is theirs. “It’s starting to creep into our minds, but you just have to come out here and win one game at a time and maybe it will happen,” said catcher Jeff Mathis, who guided Santana to an impressive outing. There is less than two weeks remaining to decide if the Santana who shut down the Tampa Devil Rays on Wednesday with 10 strikeouts is the same one who will show up if he is placed on the playoff roster. Santana has looked postseason-worthy lately. Not only did he start and give up just one run against the Devil Rays, he was coming off a hitless three innings of relief Friday against the White Sox in Chicago. last_img read more