Angels starter Ervin Santana delivers a pitch against the Oakland A's… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
CLEVELAND -- A getaway day afternoon game in Progressive Field could be just what Ervin Santana needs to turn his dismal season around.
It was in Cleveland in a series finale last July 27 that the Angels right-hander threw the eighth no-hitter in franchise history and first since Mike Witt’s perfect game in 1984.
“I’m not really thinking about that,” Santana said. “It feels like a regular game for me. That’s how I’m taking it.”
Could a different approach really hurt Santana, though? After going 11-12 with a 3.38 earned run average and 178 strikeouts in 2011, Santana is 0-4 with a 7.23 ERA in his first four starts of 2012, in which he’s given up a major league-leading 10 home runs—three more than any other pitcher—in 23 2/3 innings.
“My velocity is there,” Santana said. “I just need to locate my pitches better.”
Manager Mike Scioscia said the key for Santana is fastball command.
“It’s important for him to get into his game, and whatever the results are, they are,” Scioscia said Sunday morning. “He needs to show he can get his fastball to both sides of the plate; then his breaking ball will play like it has his whole career.”
Mike Trout, called up from triple-A Salt Lake Friday night, is in the leadoff spot for the second straight game but in center field, not left. Vernon Wells, who did not play Saturday, is back in left, and Peter Bourjos is on the bench.
The Angels snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory on Sunday, but their offense has shown no signs of breaking out of a season-long funk. They’ve scored nine runs in their last five games and are hitting .176 (28 for 159), including .143 (4 for 28) with runners in scoring position, on the trip.
The Angels lineup: CF Mike Trout, 2B Howie Kendrick, 1B Albert Pujols, DH Kendrys Morales, RF Torii Hunter, 3B Mark Trumbo, LF Vernon Wells, SS Maicer Izturis, C Chris Iannetta.
The Indians lineup: CF Michael Brantley, 2B Jason Kipnis, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, DH Travis Hafner, C Carlos Santana, 3B Jack Hannahan, LF Shelley Duncan, 1B Casey Kotchman, RF Aaron Cunningham, P Derek Lowe.
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