Asked Wednesday night if Angels left-hander Hector Santiago is letting his emotions get the best of him on the mound, Manager Mike Scioscia replied, “There is definitely some validity to that.”
Santiago, who fell to 0-6 with a 5.19 earned-run average after a shoddy 2 1/3-inning effort in a 9-2 loss to the New York Yankees, begged to differ, saying he feels he pitches “better” with runners on base.
But Santiago clearly let his emotions get the best of him in the third inning Wednesday, admitting he showed up Scioscia when the manager pulled him from the game with the Yankees leading, 6-1.
Pitchers usually wait for the manager to get to the mound before handing him the ball and heading to the dugout. Santiago left the mound well before Scioscia arrived and didn’t even break stride -- or look at the manager -- as he handed him the ball on the way to the dugout.
“Obviously, I kind of disrespected Sosh right there and walked off,” Santiago said. “That’s just me being a competitor. You want to be out there. I saw that right arm go up to the bullpen, and then it was like ... I was just disappointed in myself.
“Nothing against him. I wasn’t mad at him at all. That’s almost childish right there, walking off on him. I apologized to him probably four times. I know I messed up. It had nothing to do with him. I know he’s doing his job.”
Santiago said he felt like he was “out there for like 10 minutes” after Scioscia signaled to the bullpen, and he called the manager’s trip to the mound “the longest walk ever.” Santiago said he didn’t realize what he had done until he looked down after handing Scioscia the ball.
“After I went past him, I was like, ‘Did I really walk off that far?’” Santiago said. “Because I looked down and I’m like, ‘I’m on the grass already, and he hasn’t gotten up to the mound. I’ve definitely got to hold my ground out there and hold the ball. That’s on me.”
Two errors, one on a routine fly ball that was dropped when outfielders Mike Trout and Collin Cowgill collided, contributed to New York’s five-run first inning.
But Santiago also walked two and gave up a two-run double to Mark Teixeira and an RBI single to Brian Roberts in the inning. He gave up a solo homer to Derek Jeter in the second and walked Teixeira to lead off the third.
Santiago has been victimized by several errors and fluke plays this season, and the Angels have scored only 15 runs in his seven starts, but he’s also had a tendency to make mistakes that lead to big innings.
“Hector is trying to slow some things down,” Scioscia said. “He’s really aggressive and competitive, but you have to understand what you’re trying to do out there. Sometimes you’re not just going to run through that brick wall. You may have to take a little finesse and see the door that’s two feet to the left.
“Hector needs to exhale a little bit and try to put together pitches better. There’s no questioning his talent and his arm. It’s a live arm, and he can do some things with the baseball. He’s just not able to do that right now. When he’s out of that rhythm or things start to get a little hot, he has to find a way to make pitches to get out of it and not just try to throw the ball as hard as he can.”