The better side of Hector Santiago‘s fortnightly Jekyll/Hyde routine found it’s way back to the mound on Sunday, shutting out the Mariners for eight innings on just two hits. The start was the Angels’ second in a row of seven innings or more—the first time all season they’ve accomplished that feat—and sealed the team’s (highly improbable) third series sweep of the year.
Santiago’s rediscovered fastball velocity was at least partly to thank for his return to form. After sitting at 89 mph in his previous start, Hector’s heater jumped back to 93-95 and netted him a swing-and-miss nine times, right in line with his stellar starts at the beginning of the year. Let’s hope it sticks with him a while longer this time.
Run Expectancy Rundown
Kole Calhoun and Daniel Nava came through with clutch two-out, RBI singles in the fifth and eighth, respectively, which proved to be more than enough. Mike Trout‘s tormenting of King Felix continued. He tallied two more hits off Hernandez on Sunday, making him 27-for-79 (.375) against the Cy Young winner life-time. Johnny Giavotella also had two hits (and the lone extra-base knock), as did Geovany Soto.
Former Angel Shawn O’Malley broke up Santiago’s no-hit bid in the sixth with a weak-ass bunt single. Chris Iannetta added a line-drive single in the seventh. Other than a walk and a pair of HBP, that was it for the M’s on Sunday.
Starting Pitcher Scores
Santiago is now one of just three starters with multiple 80+ Game Score outings this season. The other two? Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber. Not bad company, even if the stat isn’t the most rigorous.
Felix Hernandez can’t seem to beat the Angels when Santiago’s on the mound. For the second time this year he threw seven innings of three-run baseball against the Halos and took the loss. Anyone else is on the mound and Seattle probably wins.
Joe Smith got the call for the third day in a row and retired the side in order, earning his second save in as many days. A pretty good weekend for the sidearmer, who also earned a win in the series’ first game.
Nick Vincent didn’t do anything to hurt his ERA, but he did let the two runners he inherited from Hernandez come around to score. Not a great weekend for Seattle’s bullpen.
Smooth sailing for once, all the way to the sweep.
Hector Santiago now has a 1.29 ERA in his last four starts (28 IP) against the Mariners. I love how much Jerry Dipoto must hate that.