Okay, let's just pin last night's loss to Baltimore on where it belongs and move on.
First, Santana. Obviously. Sure, he struck out a few guys. The ball was coming out of his hand well (I guess versus throwing it over a batter's head), and he had some movement.
But it seems that ever since Santana has been in the bigs, people have been making excuses for him. Yes, he had 16 wins early on. But his ERA was well over 4, so let's not get too excited. Then the next year he stunk it up so badly they sent him down. He got focused and got back to the bigs and had a nice year last year. Then this year he got hurt, rehabbed, came back, got bombed, rehabbed, came back, got bombed.
But the ball's coming out of his hand well? Doesn't matter, because the problem with Santana isn't his hand, or arm - it's his head. You ever listen to his responses to reporters after a bad outing? It's always, "I threw well, I'm happy with my outing." Yeah, well, you just got your butt kicked, so don't be too happy. I know, no one tells the truth to reporters... but I wonder if he tells the truth to himself.
They say he can win if his velocity is 91 versus his normal 95. I don't think so. I think if a pitcher's velocity drops, he has to make adjustments. He has to focus extremely hard to throw to spots, versus just throwing. In his years with the Angels, Santana has yet to prove he's capable of this. This is not the runaway season of 2008. The Angels need every win they can get. And I don't think they can afford to let Santana find his bearings while costing the Angels games.
But he wasn't the only reason they lost last night. Scioscia gets to share in the blame. Why? One reason. Jeff 'automatic out' Mathis. Izzy gets a lead off hit in the 9th. There's a bit of momentum. Tying run at the plate. Who does Scioscia let hit? A career .200 hitter. I was actually hoping for a strike out, because it was better than a double play.
Hey, who knows you say? He could have hit a homer. Well, Mathis hit .270 in the minor leagues. In the majors, well, Mathis stated in spring training his goal for this season was to not be the 'automatic out' he's been in the past. Now that's thinking big. Unfortunately it was thinking too big. He looks like a guy working on his swing at the plate. Hey, beautiful form on that swing and miss.
Of course, Scioscia likes to give guys confidence - which is likely why he let Mathis hit in that situation.
Just please don't do it again.