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Angels' Ervin Santana trying to locate his fastball

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.75 earned-run average through three starts. Santana has given up six home runs in less than 19 innings of work.

April 22, 2012|By Lance Pugmire

After a weekend of strong starts by Jerome Williams, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, good-spirited Angels pitcher Ervin Santana wants to join in.

Now if he can only locate his fastball.

Santana (0-3 with a 6.75 earned-run average through three starts) has given up three runs in the first innings of each of his starts and been struck for six home runs in less than 19 innings of work.

"The location of the fastball — that's why we have bullpen sessions — I need to keep it down and control it," Santana said.

Santana, after a Monday travel day, will open a six-game trip to Tampa Bay and Cleveland on Tuesday, squaring off against Rays ace David Price (2-1, 4.20).

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia expressed confidence his right-hander will recapture his sharpness after giving up two homers in Wednesday's 6-0 loss to Oakland.

"There's not a lot he has to change to just give this team a chance to win," Scioscia said. "[Finding fastball command] is not that big of an adjustment. It's all in his delivery. He can make a quick fix."

Changing look

Scioscia said taking note of the Angels' 14th lineup in 16 games Sunday "makes no sense" and "doesn't correlate to anything."

"What we focus on is the core of the lineup, one through five, and middle defense," he said.

Scioscia said history has shown altered lineups aren't an indicator of disruption or struggle, but he conceded there's an active search for "offensive chemistry" with a club batting .215 with runners in scoring position over the last 14 games.

There's currently a three-player platoon of Mark Trumbo, Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo at third base and a need to give at-bats to veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu.

Scioscia maintained that the club's "power will show up."

"Albert [Pujols] has just missed about four pitches that could've been home runs," he said.

Outfielder Peter Bourjos said the team's .197 batting average with runners in scoring position and two out should improve considering the talent in the locker room.

"With the pitchers bearing down on you, you have to be more selective," Bourjos said. "Pitching is still ahead of hitting at this point, but by May and June, we'll be right where we need to be."

Williams in rotation

Instead of skipping No. 5 starter Williams with an off day Monday, Scioscia will have the right-hander start Thursday at Tampa Bay.

Williams, who missed spring-training starts because of a hamstring strain, wasn't used until April 15, then lasted 6 2/3 innings Friday in a 6-3 victory over Baltimore.

"It wasn't a do-or-die start," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, he'll continue to move forward. Right now, it makes sense to give the guys an extra day rather than jam the rotation," by skipping Williams in favor of ace Weaver.

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