On Wednesday, July 4, Ervin Santana gave up eight runs on six hits and three walks in 1.1 innings of work as the Los Angeles Angels lost at the Cleveland Indians 12-3. Former Angel Casey Kotchman went 2 of 3 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Tribe.
I'm worried about the Angels' pitching staff, especially Ervin Santana and Dan Haren. Here are two players that many fans expected to have outstanding seasons, but both of them are a mess right now. Santana is 4-9 this season with a 5.75 ERA. That's more than two runs above his 2011 and 1.42 runs above his career average.
At age 29, Santana should be entering his prime. That's what I thought was happening last season when he threw his no-hitter, but it appears that he's lost something since then. Maybe Santana's body never recovered from pitching a career-high 228.2 innings last season, or perhaps something is wrong with his mechanics. I can't say for sure, but I'm worried about him.
The same goes for Haren. He hasn't pitched well since the Angels' 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on May 29. In Haren's last five starts, he hasn't made it past the sixth inning while giving up more than five runs per outing. In the team's July 3 loss to the Indians, the Angels came back to from four runs down to take a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning, but Haren couldn't hold it. He gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning, and Los Angeles lost the game 9-5.
The Angels didn't pick up Haren in 2010 for him to become a weakness on this team. He was meant to be a solid No. 2 in the rotation behind Jered Weaver, but that hasn't been the case this season. I've heard speculation that Haren is injured, and that would make sense. He hasn't pitched this poorly since his rookie year. I doubt that he's suddenly become a below-average pitcher; something is going on with him.
Regardless, the problems with both Santana and Haren are negatively affecting the rest of the pitching staff. The bullpen was called on relentlessly during the Angels' road trip and are in desperate need of a break. Watching it try to work throughout the past nine games was awful. If the Angels are going to keep up with the Texas Rangers in the A.L. West, then they need to get their pitching staff in order, or else we're going to see the team fade out of the playoff chase.
Derek Ciapala has been a fan of the Angels since childhood. His favorite Angels moment is when they won the 2002 World Series in seven games over the San Francisco Giants. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala or on Facebook.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ervin Santana
- Los Angeles Angels
- Dan Haren