SAN DIEGO -- Ervin Santana will make the start for, surprise, Minnesota when the Twins face the San Diego Padres in a Wednesday matinee.
Santana (11-7, 3.37 ERA) was among the Twins pitchers rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline. Instead, closer Brandon Kintzler was sent to the Washington Nationals and starter Jaime Garcia went to the New York Yankees.
Santana stayed put, and he will place his 2-0 career record against the Padres on the line in the Twins' final game of a dreadful road trip. Minnesota is 1-6 on the West Coast swing and has lost three straight and seven of eight overall.
Santana can't absorb much of the blame for the Twins' dive of late. He is third in the American League in opponents' average (.217), tied for third in wins and sixth in ERA. His last time out was a bit scratchy, but it really wasn't that bad. He didn't get a decision when he allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings at Dodger Stadium on July 26.
Among Santana's tasks will be taming Padres center fielder Manuel Margot. The rookie has been red hot and was recently named the National League player of the week for the first time after having six multiple hit games in a seven-start span.
"He's really good," San Diego manager Andy Green told MLB.com. "And I think he's going to grow because he's committed to being as good as he can be."
What Minnesota needs to prove is it still has a pulse. Many thought the surprising Twins would be buyers, not sellers, at the deadline. After Minnesota shed two key players, manager Paul Molitor said there is no time to feel sorry.
"You are a professional major league player," Molitor said. "Any type of self-pity will only dig you a deeper hole. You come out there and try to not maybe do more than who you are, but understand that you have a chance to go out and play and put the uniform on and complete and who knows?"
What the Twins know is they got cold right when the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals heated up. That changed the direction of Twins' front office, but not the belief of the players and coaching staff in the clubhouse.
"I'm certainly not losing faith that somehow we can put together some kind of run that gives us a chance to inch our way back into a potential postseason berth," Molitor said. "I think the odds get a little longer when you lose a few of pieces, but it doesn't mean that you can't still accomplish what you set out to accomplish over 5 1/2 months ago."
The Padres' goal back then was to play competitive baseball. And they have, to a point, considering they have the majors' youngest team. One of those kids, although one in his second season, will be on the mound against the Twins: right-hander Luis Perdomo (5-5, 4.76 ERA).
Perdomo will see the Twins for the first time, but he has a 2-0 mark against AL Central opponents this season. His 10 quality home starts are the second best among the Padres.
In his most recent start, Perdomo gave up four runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings during a Thursday win over the New York Mets.