ANAHEIM - Crucial wins come in crucial situations. For the Los Angeles Angels, it’s time to be crucial with the Oakland Athletics breathing down their neck, three days away from September.
The Angels took an interleague, rubber match win over the Miami Marlins tonight, before taking on the A’s at the Big A.
The Angels pitching problems arose in the last few weeks, with starting pitchers, Tyler Skaggs and Garrett Richards going down for the season with injuries. The Angels are in desperate need of starting pitcher depth and relief for their relief pitchers.
For the Angels, Hector Santiago performed in a crucial situation. Helping his team limit opposing offensive damage, with their only run coming by way of a solo shot from Adeiny Hechavarria.
“Hector went out their and gave us a chance to win,” said manager Mike Scioscia. “I thought early, he really changed speeds well, he had good command, got by some good hitters and finished strong.”
Santiago struggled in the beginning of the season all the way to the All-Star break, and Scioscia noted the reason for this.
“In Spring Training and early in the season I think he was trying to throw 106 miles per hour on every pitch, I think as the season started to go the wrong way he tried to throw it 107.”
Santiago rebuddled Scioscia’s comments, but understood the severity of what the comments meant. Since the All-Star, Santiago has posted a 1.47 earned run average and had opposing hitters, batting just .196.
“I don’t know if I was trying to throw 106, maybe 96,” laughed Santiago. “There were times where I would get ahead in counts and try to overthrow and beat guys with fastballs… There’s definitely a big difference from over throwing early in the year to just making my pitches now.”
The Angels need performances from Hector Santiago like tonight, who picked up his first win at Angel Stadium in 2014. For Mike Scioscia, it’s a positive for his young pitchers like Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago to make big starts for the Angels in this late run for the post season, but isn’t necessarily a comforting feeling.
“That’s 2/5 of our rotation, I don’t think comforting is the right word, I think it’s essential.”
For Santiago, it’s the fifth game out of his last six at Angel Stadium to have one earned run or less. His five and two/third inning performance, highlighted by just three hits allowed (one a home run), and six strikeouts, helped let the Angels shut down the Marlins offense over the course of the night.
As for the Angels offense, it wasn’t stellar, but found a way to provide six runs. The offense was lead by a pair of names, one big, one not so big.
Gordon Beckham not only picked up his first hit as an Angel in the third inning, but picked up his first home run as an Angel in the fourth. Beckham finished the night going 2-for-4 with the home run, and a pair of runs batted in, and a pair of runs scored as well.
Mike Trout, ever heard of him? Trout continued his stretch of milestones tonight, hitting his 30th home run of the season. Trout joined the company of Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Jose Canseco, and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in American League history to have two, 30-home run seasons, through or prior to their age-22 season.
Also for Trout, he became one of three Major Leaguers since 1901 with two seasons of 30 home runs and five triples in their age-22 season. For Trout, it’s a simple feat though that isn’t a priority.
“I’m just happy we won,” said Trout. “It’s always cool to reach those feats, but we have other things on our mind and that’s try and make it to the playoffs.”
Winning on a day-to-day basis is the focus in the Angels clubhouse. But with a tough Oakland team coming to town, things become a little different, and more challenging.
“Always when you play Oakland,” says Trout, “they’re going to be on your mind. But, you have to take it one game at a time, and we’re going to take it from there.”
Trout and company welcome the Athletics to Angel Stadium for a four game set starting tomorrow, August 28th, through the end of August. The Angels hold a one game lead over the A’s in the American League West, but that could change drastically one way, or the other after the course of the next four games.
Final from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California:
Marlins, 1 Angels, 6
W – Hector Santiago (4-7, 3.28)
L – Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.75)