While Ervin Santana has been the unquestioned ace for the Minnesota Twins this season, Hector Santiago has been starting off hot. Will he keep it going?
The pitching staff for the Minnesota Twins has been led by Ervin Santana‘s incredible start. While he has gotten Twins Territory excited about his red-hot 2017, their second starter has been flying under the radar. Hector Santiago has quietly put together a hot start of his own pitching the day after Santana.
Santiago’s first four starts would get anyone excited if their wasn’t something miraculous happening with the guy in front of him. In four starts, he has thrown 24.2 innings and posted a 2-1 record. Along the way, he has struck out 17 batters and recorded a 2.19 ERA.
While his ability to keep lineups from scoring has been impressive, his ability to do so efficiently has been just as eye-popping. Opponents are hitting just .217 against Santiago and he has only walked four batters, giving him a 0.973 WHIP.
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If Santiago keeps up his pace, the Twins will have a two-headed monster at the top of the rotation. Santiago has shown he can pitch at a high level in the past. Last season, before coming to Minnesota, he posted a 10-4 record with the Angels, although his ERA was a bloated 4.25. The season before, he went 9-9 with a 3.59 ERA. This season has the potential to be Santiago’s best yet.
The rest of the rotation needs to step up.
With the way Santiago is pitching behind Santana, the Twins are in good shape the first two days of the rotation. The problem is the rest of the starting rotation. Two starters are not enough for the Twins to be successful.
Kyle Gibson has been insufficient as a starter in his first four appearances. He has a 9.00 ERA to go along with a record of 0-3 in only 17 innings pitched. He is averaging an earned run per inning, which is far from what the Twins have wanted from him. Gibson isn’t the only one struggling.
Phil Hughes may have a 2-1 record, but he has a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings pitched over three starts. Hughes has shown the ability, in the past, to be a quality big league starter. He has been an All Star and has won more than 15 games multiple times.
The last few seasons, on the other hand, have been anything but pretty. Hughes could be the key to the Twins having a quality rotation, along with Gibson getting out of his funk. Santiago and Santana have made this rotation easier to watch, but they can’t keep carrying the rotation by themselves.
While Ervin Santana has been lights out, Santiago’s quiet red-hot start has kept the Twins rotation looking respectable. If others in the rotation are able to step up, this squad has the potential to do big things in the American League Central. Hopefully, the top two guys can keep rolling while the others catch up.