The Minnesota Twins have been lucky at the top of their starting rotation. Ervin Santana and Hector Santiago have been a driving force for the Twins and their success. On Sunday, however, Santiago got roughed up in his worst start of the season. For the Twins to continue winning, Santiago will need to rebound his next time out.
Before Sunday’s game against the Indians, Santiago was 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA on the season. He had yet to have a bad start, never going less than five innings and never giving up more than three runs in an outing in 2017. Sunday would change both of those.
In just 2.2 innings, Santiago gave up six earned runs on seven hits. Three of those hits were home runs, which was as many home runs as he had given up all season before Sunday. The start was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but he will need to show he can recover for the Twins to stay successful.
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The Twins need Santiago to rebound to keep their rotation solid.
With the outing Jose Berrios had on Saturday, it looked as if the Twins had three dangerous starters for the first time all season. With Santiago’s rough start, it put that to a halt. Well, at least for the next five days anyway. He will get his chance to get back on track against the Kansas City Royals.
Santiago has started once against the Royals this season, going five innings and only giving up one run while striking out four on April 5th. If Santiago can have that same success against the Royals, he will get back on track no problem.
The Twins truly need Santiago to rebound from his start on Sunday. Without Santiago pitching well, they are left with him, Santana, a young pitcher who is unproven, a veteran who has been lucky with run support and a huge hole where a fifth starter needs to be. If Santiago continues to struggle, the Twins will have gone from on the brink of a top rotation to a rotation full of holes and questions.
Without Santiago throwing well, the Twins rotation will be lackluster, even if Berrios steps up. They need three quality starters, especially if they want to hang tight with the Indians. Santiago’s next start will be a chance for him to bounce back against a team he succeeded against in April. A quality start can get him back on track. The Twins need it, just as much as he does.