Maybe when this baseball gig is up,
For three straight innings in the middle of Tuesday night's game in the Rogers Centre, the
"For some reason, I've always liked pitching with guys on base," said Santiago, who allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking three, to improve to 3-2 with a superb 2.25 earned-run average.
"Being a reliever forever, always coming in with guys on base, the situation came up a lot. I got comfortable with it. It didn't bother me. I just bear down, get even more aggressive and make sure I don't give in."
Santiago has stranded 42 baserunners in eight starts, and his strand rate of 86.8% — the percentage of players who reach base against him but don't score — was the fifth-highest in baseball entering Tuesday. He walks a tightrope at times but hasn't lost his balance much.
"There are a lot of things you can slice and dice, but right now, what Hector is doing is really impressive," Manager
Santiago went 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in his first seven starts last season and was demoted to triple-A in May. He was recalled in June and bounced between the bullpen and rotation the rest of the year, going 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA in his final 21 games.
The Angels acquired young pitchers
"It's his ability to throw strikes," catcher
That was apparent Tuesday when Santiago, relying heavily on an inside fastball, stifled a lineup that entered with the major league's best average (.328), on-base percentage (.377) and slugging percentage (.514) against left-handed pitchers.
"They've been chewing up some left-handed pitching," Scioscia said. "They let you know if you're missing your spots."
Santiago did miss a spot to the first batter he faced, and
Russell Martin and
After a walk and a single to open the sixth, Santiago struck out Valencia looking, got Colabello to fly to center and struck out Kevin Pillar looking.
"His delivery is much more in control, he's in sync, you can see the rhythm he has," Scioscia said of Santiago. "He's not quite as herky jerky. He's not forcing things. He's got a real nice release point and is filling up the zone."