Ervin Santana and Coors Field is a match made in homer-allowing heaven and sure enough the Angels right-hander served up two more long balls versus the Rockies yesterday.
(He also got the “win” while allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings, because pitcher “wins” are hilarious.)
Santana has now allowed 18 homers in 80 innings spread over 13 starts, which puts him on pace to allow 46 homers on the season. That would tie Santana for the third-highest total in baseball history:
Bert Blyleven 1986 50
Jose Lima 2000 48
Bronson Arroyo 2011 46
Bert Blyleven 1987 46
Robin Roberts 1956 46
Four pitchers (including Bert Blyleven twice) have allowed more than 45 homers in a season. Two of them are in the Hall of Fame and the other two are both former All-Stars. Santana is also a former All-Star and he’s been a very solid starter for the Angels during the past seven seasons, throwing nearly 1,300 innings with a 4.22 ERA.
That includes a 3.38 ERA in 229 innings last season and a 3.92 ERA in 223 innings in 2010, so Santana’s decline to a 5.74 ERA is both homer-fueled and unexpected. Prior to this season his career-high for homers allowed was 27 and he’d served up an average of 25 homers per 200 innings. And now he’s allowed 18 in 80 innings and been bad enough that projecting his season total of 46 requires the leap of faith that he’ll actually remain in the Angels’ rotation all year.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.