Santana attempts to set a career high in wins by getting his first against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
Although this has been a disappointing season for the Angels (71-74), Santana (16-9, 4.00 ERA) has been a bright spot. He ranks among the AL leaders in wins, needing one to surpass the personal best he set in 2006 and matched in 2008.
The right-hander has benefited from good run support, receiving 5.63 runs per start. He is 8-2 in his last 10 outings despite a 4.76 ERA, helped by 7.69 runs from his teammates.
“Last year I don’t have any run support, the year before either,” Santana told the team’s official website.
“That’s flying under the radar,” center fielder Torii Hunter(notes) said of Santana’s win total. “If your teammate doesn’t know, and I got to defend behind him all the time. I had no idea. That’s putting together a nice little season right there.”
Santana, however, is 0-6 with a 5.71 ERA in eight starts against Cleveland (59-86).
Los Angeles finally gave Jered Weaver(notes) some support in a 7-0 win Wednesday, splitting the first two of this three-game set. The scoring output was two more than the total Weaver received while going 0-4 over his previous five starts.
The Angels, though, could be in for a tough night offensively against Carmona (12-14, 3.86).
Carmona has been a rare bright spot of late for the Indians, who are trying to avoid finishing at the bottom of a division for the first time since 1991. They’ll need to outlast Kansas City for the dubious honor of concluding the season in fourth place in the AL Central.
Backing Carmona could make a difference.
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 2.37 ERA in four starts, getting four total runs of support.
He didn’t need much help Friday, throwing a three-hitter with seven strikeouts in a 2-0 win over Minnesota. That came seven days after he tossed a four-hitter while fanning six in a 1-0 loss at Seattle, as the offense mustered three hits.
“Fausto was filthy,” manager Manny Acta said Friday. “He had that good sinker, but the difference maker for him has been that changeup. They kept beating that sinker into the ground. He was fantastic.”
The Indians are hoping Carmona can continue resembling the 19-game winner who emerged in 2007. He won 13 games over the next two seasons before spending last winter sharpening his mental approach with Cleveland’s psychological staff.
“He accomplished it,” Acta said. “I’m proud of him. He pitched in winter ball, worked on what he had to work on. He bought into everything we were trying to sell to him.”
Carmona has a 1.90 ERA in six games - three starts - against the Angels, but has lost his only two decisions.