I wrote earlier this week about Ervin Santana serving up homers at a historic rate and wondered if getting bumped from the rotation might be the only thing to keep him from setting records.
It turns out the answer may be yes, as Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles speculates that the Angels are running out of patience with Santana, who’s 3-7 with a 5.74 ERA and 18 homers allowed in 13 starts.
Of course, Saxon also notes that Mike Scioscia “continues to insist that Santana’s spot in the rotation is secure.” And the manager is right to be patient, because Santana has been a solid mid-rotation starter for most of the past seven seasons and posted a 3.66 ERA in 66 starts between 2010 and 2011.
However, if Santana continues to serve up batting practice once Jered Weaver returns from the disabled list the Angels may have a decision on their hands. Santana is under team control for next season, but right now picking up his $13 million option seems very unlikely and in that case there won’t be a ton of motivation to stick with an impending free agent.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.