LA Angels' Ervin Santana takes on Sabathia in Saturday showdown

By dougmead

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren, who has made 234 consecutive starts without missing a turn rotation, has been pushed back until Tuesday after tweaking his back in a bullpen session on Wednesday, meaning Ervin Santana will be moved up to take on CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees on Saturday night.

Los Angeles Angels’ Ervin Santana pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of the Angels MLB American League baseball season home opening game in Anaheim, California April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Because of the off-day on Thursday, Santana will be pitching on his normal rest, and he will look to build upon his recent success at home.

Santana has only given up one earned run over 15 innings in his last two appearances at Angel Stadium, both wins, and has a 2-3 record with a 3.56 ERA overall at home thus far this season.

Santana is 5-3 lifetime against the Yankees, but with a relatively high 5.55 ERA. Here are his splits against current Yankee hitters.

Derek Jeter- .444 average, 4 HR

Mark Teixeira- .207 average, 1 HR

Nick Swisher- .167 average, 14 Ks

Alex Rodriguez- .273 average, 2 HR

Robinson Cano- .276 average, 2 HR

Curtis Granderson- .214 2 HR

Jorge Posada- .211 average, 1 HR

Santana, in his last two outings at home, established command of the strike zone early, and located his fastball with effectiveness. With the patience that the Yankees display at the plate, Santana will need to find that command early.

Sabathia had some struggles early on in the month of May, however has won his last three decisions, giving up just five earned runs in 25 innings. Now at 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA, Sabathia appears to be on top of his game, and with a patchwork rotation that includes reclamation projects Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, the Yankees starting pitching has been surprisingly good.

Sabathia has had his struggles against the Angels overall, with a lifetime record of 5-7 and 4.72 ERA in 14 starts. Among the current Angels, right fielder Torii Hunter has had some success against Sabathia, with a .284 average and 3 HR.

Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia will no doubt feature a lineup heavy on right-handed hitters, so expect Russell Branyan to be sitting for this one. Howie Kendrick will make his return from the disabled list, and it’s just in time, as he has been particularly effective against Sabathia, with a .500 lifetime average against him.

Scioscia is now 55-45 against the Yankees all-time, having managed his 100th game against them on Friday night.


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