Santana looks to win his fifth straight start and help the Angels (35-42) bounce back from a decisive loss when they wrap up a series with the Colorado Rockies (39-38) on Wednesday.
With reigning Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon missing much of the first half of the season with a shoulder injury, the 23-year-old Santana has picked up the slack, allowing two runs or less in three of his four starts this month.
Despite earning the win in Los Angeles’ 8-2 victory over Arizona in his last start Friday, Santana gave up a season-high six walks in six innings. He had allowed just seven walks in 33 2-3 innings in his previous five starts.
“I was average,” said Santana, who has given up just seven runs and 18 hits during his streak. “But I battled and did not give in.”
Santana has never faced Colorado, but is 3-2 with a 4.83 ERA in six career starts against NL teams.
Jeff Francis (5-7, 4.37) looks to avoid his third straight loss when he takes the mound for the Rockies. In losses to St. Louis and Texas, the left-hander has been tagged for 11 runs and 14 hits in 11 2-3 innings.
After cruising early, Francis allowed four runs in the sixth inning of an 8-6 defeat against to the Rangers on Friday. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle also said Francis’ fastball didn’t look very strong, and Francis said his velocity was there, but his performance “wasn’t great.”
After giving up five runs in the eighth inning of a 5-4 loss in the series opener, Colorado bounced back with a 12-4 rout on Tuesday. Clint Barmes and Garrett Atkins each had two hits and three RBIs in the victory.
Barmes has 41 RBIs this season. He had 46 in 81 games last year in a season shortened by a broken collarbone.
“I think that speaks volumes,” Cook said. “Statistically, his average isn’t where he wants it to be, but he’s getting timely hits and sacrifice flies. He’s going up there in key situations not trying to do too much with guys in scoring position and he’s getting the job done.”
Colorado is 8-3 in interleague play and trails first-place San Diego by 1 1/2 games in the NL West. With a win in this game, Colorado would improver to 20-20 on the road—they went just 27 games away from Coors Field all of last season.
Veteran Angels left fielder Garret Anderson was scratched from Tuesday’s game with back stiffness and is day-to-day. The Angels’ all-time hits leader, Anderson needs two for 2,000 in his career.