All eyes on Ervin Santana

ANAHEIM -- Publicly at least, Angels manager Mike Scioscia remains committed to struggling right-hander Ervin Santana. But with ace Jered Weaver (back) inching closer to rejoining the rotation as soon as next week, and the emergence of Jerome Williams, at the very least Santana will be watched very closely in Saturday night's start against the Diamondbacks.

"We have some decisions coming up, but we don't have all the facts yet," Scioscia said. "We've talked about Ervin for a couple weeks about some of the inconsistencies that have shown up. But he's been such a big part of it when we've done what we need to do. We just need him to throw the ball consistently. That's what we're looking for."

Santana (3-7, 5.74 ERA) has been roughed up for seven runs in each of his last two starts and has an unsightly 10.18 ERA in his last four outings. Before that he was pretty solid though, posting a 2.17 ERA in four previous starts. In other words, it's there. It's just not there every time.

"It's a number of things. It's how he's falling behind," Scioscia said. "A lot of it has to do with his inability to control the zones with his fastball. He's had to rely on his breaking ball a little too much. He needs to get that fast ball in and out, then fold in the changing of speeds, bringing in his breaking ball off counts. Some games he's done really well, some games he's struggled with it.

"Each pitch complements the others. If you don't have one then you become one-dimensional and it's tough to get through this league as a starter."

Santana takes the mound tonight against his friend and former teammate Joe Saunders (4-4, 3.48 ERA), who is hoping for a better result than Angels starter Dan Haren had Friday night in a 5-0 loss against his former team. Haren gave up five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3rd inning on Friday. Saunders is 19-24 with the Diamondbacks since the July 2010 trade.

Here's a look at the lineups:


Mike Trout CF

Torii Hunter RF

Albert Pujols DH

Mark Trumbo LF

Kendrys Morales 1B

Howard Kendrick 2B

Maicer Izturis 3B

Erick Aybar SS

John Hester C

Ervin Santana P


Chris Young CF

Willie Bloomquist SS

Justin Upton RF

Paul Goldschmidt 1B

Jason Kubel DH

Aaron Hill 2B

Ryan Roberts 3B

Gerardo Parra LF

Henry Blanco C

Joe Saunders P