Staff writer Tim Hubbard looks at three former Angels starters who have had surprisingly strong first halves this season.
SP | Oakland
A Cy Young Award winner with the Angels in 2005, Colon landed on Billy Beane's doorstep in Oakland last season as a journeyman with a history of shoulder woes. The right-hander quickly provided quality starts and veteran leadership to the Athletics' young and talented staff before being handed a 50-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy. Oakland opted to re-sign Colon to a one-year deal for 2013 and the 40-year-old has been excellent, winning eight of his last nine starts to push his record to 11-2 to go with a 2.79 earned-run average and a 1.08 WHIP. Hopefully this year, he'll be able to stick around for the rest of the season.
SP | Boston
It had been a tumultuous three years in Boston for Lackey, who as a rookie was the winning pitcher for the Angels in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. After a pedestrian 2010 season, 2011 was a disaster. Lackey gave up more earned runs than any pitcher in baseball, took a public relations hit when he filed for divorce from his wife who had been battling cancer, and was embroiled in a controversy with fellow starters Jon Lester and Josh Beckett for allegedley eating chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse on days they weren't pitching. Lackey then underwent Tommy John surgery, forcing him to sit out 2012. Now the surprising Red Sox are in first place and Lackey is pitching as well as ever, sporting a 6-5 record and a 2.81 ERA. He is averaging 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and has a career-best 1.17 WHIP.
SP | Kansas City
Looking to shed salary in hopes of re-signing free-agent Zack Greinke, the Angels traded Santana in November to Kansas City for reliever Brandon Sisk. Santana had just completed a season in which he was 9-13, gave up an MLB-leading 39 home runs, and had a 5.16 ERA. The plan has not worked out for the Angels, as Greinke ended up signing with the Dodgers and Sisk has had season-ending surgery. Kansas City, meanwhile, is getting the best Santana has to offer. The 30-year-old's record is only 5-5, but his peripherals are impressive, as he has posted career bests in ERA (2.84) and WHIP (1.03) and is averaging more than seven strikeouts per nine innings.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times