Silva, who may be called upon to start in the playoffs, takes the mound for the Minnesota Twins as they continue their pursuit of first place in the AL Central on Wednesday when they continue their four-game series with the Kansas City Royals.
Santana pitched eight strong innings in his final start before the playoffs, earning his 19th win and leading the Minnesota (94-63) to a 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday in the second game of the series.
The Twins clinched a spot in the postseason by beating Kansas City on Monday night, and now they’ve set their sights on catching the first-place Tigers for the AL Central title. Detroit beat Toronto 4-3 Tuesday night, maintaining its one-game lead over Minnesota.
“We’ve had a great season so far but we’re not done yet,” Santana said. “It feels good to finish strong. Now I have to cheer these guys on so we can win the division.”
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said Santana will make his next start in Game 1 of the AL division series next week. Boof Bonser will start Game 2. Brad Radke, who will return to the rotation on Thursday, could start Game 3. If Radke’s injured pitching shoulder does not allow him to go after Thursday, Matt Garza or Silva will get the nod.
“If they give me the opportunity to be there, I guarantee I’m going to give the team my best,” Silva said. “The only veteran guy we have is Santana, so I try to step up a little more to show I can do this—that I can still help my team out. I’m going to continue doing it. I have one more start … and I’m going to try to do the same routine.”
Silva (10-14, 5.95 ERA) won two straight starts before losing Friday, when he gave up five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season, and 3-1 with a 3.63 ERA in eight career starts against them.
Kansas City (58-99) will counter with Mark Redman (10-10, 5.83 ERA), who is coming off his worst start of the season and the shortest of his career, giving up nine runs and seven hits while retiring just one batter in a 15-4 loss Saturday to the Detroit Tigers.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against the Twins this season, and 1-3 with a 4.94 ERA in nine career starts against them.
The Royals have dropped eight straight and are one loss shy of their third consecutive 100-loss season.
“When you don’t have all your guys you go to plan B,” interim manager Billy Doran said. “Now we’re on Plan C. But you go with what you got and these kids are actually playing pretty well for me.”