Santana looks to continue his success against the Yankees when he makes his season debut Saturday for the Los Angeles Angels as they continue a three-game series at Angel Stadium.
The last time Santana faced the Yankees, he helped end their season. Santana relieved an injured Bartolo Colon in the second inning in Game 5 of last year’s Division Series and pitched 5 1-3 effective innings to earn the victory.
“It was tough. We didn’t have a lot of options,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia after the game. “We had a lot of confidence in Erv. Ervin Santana is the story for us.”
Santana’s success in the postseason against the New York mirrored his work in the regular season. He went 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in two starts last year against the Yankees.
The 23-year-old right-hander was stellar down the stretch last year, going 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA over his last four outings. He went 9-3 with a 3.18 ERA at home a year ago.
New York is hoping to end a three-game losing streak since a 15-2 rout at Oakland in the season opener Monday. The Yankees have managed just eight runs during the skid after a 4-1 loss in the series opener on Friday.
“We’re flat right now,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 for his second straight hitless effort. The reigning AL MVP hit .133 (2-for-15) in the Division Series against the Angels.
“It’s frustrating because we feel like we know what the potential is,” Rodriguez said. “We got to get into a rhythm.”
Angels leadoff hitter Chone Figgins went 2-for-3 to continue his career success against New York. Figgins is batting .405 (34-for-84) against the Yankees in 22 games.
Torre will turn to Randy Johnson, who is seeking to win his first two outings for the first time since winning his first six starts in 2002. Johnson took advantage of an early seven-run cushion and allowed one run and five hits over seven innings in the season-opening victory Monday.
“You don’t want to lose your focus that you’re going to cruise through it by any means,” Johnson said. “I was able to get some easy outs.”
Johnson has had plenty of success at Anaheim in his 21-year career. He’s 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 12 career starts at Angel Stadium.
However, Johnson’s last start against the Angels was Game 3 of last year’s Division Series in which the 42-year-old left-hander was tagged for five runs and nine runs in an 11-7 loss. He bounced back to pitch 4 1-3 scoreless innings of relief in Game 5.
Johnson has had plenty of success against Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero, who is hitting .200 (6-for-30) with 10 strikeouts against the five-time Cy Young Award winner.