Minnesota Twins: The Mastery of Ervin Santana This Season
Ervin Santana has been dominant in four starts for the Minnesota Twins. He has shown how good he can be. To keep it up, he needs to stay healthy.
It would be hard to argue that Ervin Santana isn’t the hottest pitcher in the league right now. He’s 4-0, has an ERA of only 0.77 and a WHIP of 0.66. He’s the number one player in ESPN’s Fantasy Baseballlist and his demand is only growing.
This is from a guy with a career ERA of over four and WHIP of 1.27. Suddenly, he’s making players look positively foolish at the plate and is able to go deep into games to save a suddenly depleted Twins bullpen.
Watching Santana work in Tuesday’s match up against the Rangers, whom the Twins historically enjoy a fair measure of success against, it was easy to see what has frustrated hitters who have been unlucky enough to face him so far this season. His command is sharp. His mechanics have been improved during his time with the Twins and his throwing motion has been tweaked.
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However, Globe Park has not been friendly to Santana in the past. Going into Tuesday night’s game, he had a record of 6-7 there with an ERA of close to seven. He looked to right the ship going seven innings, allowing just one hit, a solo home run to Joey Gallo in the fifth, and walking only two batters. He also got plenty of run support, including a seven- run fifth inning.
Santana’s hot start is clearly a welcome turn of events for the Minnesota Twins, whose rotation was the second worst in baseball last year with a collective ERA of 5.08. But is it sustainable?
With the news coming out on Tuesday that left-hander Ryan O’Rourke is headed for Tommy John surgery, it is now more critical than ever for Santana to continue making quality starts and keeping his ERA low.
Santana’s Health Will Help Determine His Success
The key is going to be the health of Santana. He’s 34 years old, which is elderly by athlete standards and even more so by starting pitching standards. Stretching him late into games is going to put strain on a body that’s already older than most of the team.
It is going to be critical for the Twins to manage his starts and rest him when necessary as the season wears on, particularly if playoff talks begin to creep into the picture.
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For now, it’s safe to say that any start Santana makes is must-see television for Twins fans. As long as he is managed effectively, there is no reason to think his dominance won’t continue into the season. Every fifth day baseball fans get to tune in and watch a master of his craft. For Twins fans, let’s hope it stretches into the fall.