Ervin Santana has yet to record a win this season, but facing the Indians should jostle some nice memories for the Angels right- hander.
Santana, who has faced the Indians 11 times in his career, had lost his first six decisions to Cleveland. That was until he tossed a no-hitter at Progressive Field on July 27 last year. That 10-strikeout performance gave the Angels their eighth no-hitter in franchise history and first by a single pitcher in team annals since Mike Witt in 1984.
Santana heads into today's game a loser of seven straight decisions going back to last season. His last victory came Sept. 1 at Seattle. He continued to struggle in his most recent outing, allowing eight hits and five runs over five-plus innings in a 5-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. So far this season, Santana has given up 10 homers in 23 2/3 innings.
Not only that, but Santana isn't getting any run support. Zero. The Angels have been shut out the last three times Santana has started.
Derek Lowe will start the finale of this three-game series for Cleveland. The sinkerball specialist, who is coming off a victory against Kansas City on Tuesday, has recorded wins in both of his home starts this season. In those games, he's allowed one earned run over 13 innings.
Lowe is 6-8 with a 3.24 ErA in 30 games (14 starts) against the Angels. He's lost each of his last three starts vs. the Angels.
Yesterday, Dan Haren threw eight strong innings, Torii Hunter hit a solo homer and the Angels snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 win.
Haren (1-1) picked up his first win of the season in his fifth start, striking out seven and giving up just four hits, two walks and a run.
"He throws a great amount of off-speed stuff and then when he throws a fastball he just [fires] it by you," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "He's a great pitcher. He's been doing it for a while now."
Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez (1-1) also struck out seven but took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols went 1-for-4 with a single and saw his average inch up to .226 for the season, but remains without a home run 21 games into his first season in the American League.
"I think he swung the bat a little better," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "His power will be there."
The Indians are in their own offensive funk, at least power-wise. They haven't hit a home run in 10 straight games. The last time anybody went deep was a three-run shot by Carlos Santana in the fifth inning on April 17 at Seattle.
The Angels won six of nine against the Tribe last season.