07/28/11 12:37 PM ET
Santana enjoying aftermath of no-hitter
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
It is not the kind of thing he is accustomed to, operating as the third wheel in a rotation featuring Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, but Santana is trying to handle it as gracefully as he can.
"Very much," he said, grinning, when asked if things have been fairly hectic since he threw his final pitch against the Indians. "It's good. It doesn't happen all the time, so I have to enjoy it."
Santana gets a break, in one regard. The Angels have an off-day on Monday, meaning he'll have an extra day to prepare for his next start on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium against the Twins. He can expect a big reception from his hometown fans, who haven't had a no-hitter to applaud since 1990 when Mark Langston and Mike Witt combined on a gem. They had to wait six months to congratulate Witt after his perfect game on Sept. 30, 1984, which closed the season in Texas. That was the last solo no-hitter by an Angels pitcher, an act Nolan Ryan performed four times before departing Orange County for Houston.
The aftermath of his biggest day as a professional was emotional for Santana, who acknowledged that he'd dedicated his performance to a cousin, Ruben Corporan, who died last month in the Dominican Republic.
Santana isn't one to wear his feelings on his sleeves, but it was evident that it weighed heavily on him. This made his masterful 10-strikeout, one-walk performance all the more remarkable.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia took a look at some video before Thursday's matinee against the Tigers, and it affirmed what he'd seen live: Santana was about as good as he's ever been. But he's been moving in that direction for more than a month, with a string of solid efforts, only a few of which have been rewarded with victories.
"He's pitched some great games for us when he's had great command like that and didn't pitch a no-hitter," Scioscia said. "I don't think we've seen Ervin with better command, but he's had similar command. I think he's been very consistent."
Santana is 6-8 with a 3.47 ERA in 148 innings, striking out 123 while walking 40 and holding hitters to a .237 batting average. Those numbers would suggest a record closer to Haren's 10-6 than 6-8. The run support simply has not been there for Santana, who won a career-high 17 games last season.
"You're not going to match that fastball command and put it together every time out," Scioscia said. "But he's pitched well; he really has. A lot of things came together. But it's not like there was any metamorphosis. His stuff was similar to some games we've seen from him."
Mathis, Wilson to share catching duties
DETROIT -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia is not one to overreact to one game's performance, and that is not the case as he plans to have Bobby Wilson, Ervin Santana's batterymate in his no-hit masterwork on Wednesday, share the catching job with veteran Jeff Mathis for the immediate future.
This was Scioscia's intent when the club sent rookie Hank Conger to Triple-A Salt Lake to refine a few things, elevating Wilson from the No. 3 role to backup to Mathis.
"He's going to play," Scioscia said of Wilson, whose start on Wednesday was his 10th of the season, compared to 53 by Mathis and 42 by Conger. "From a defensive aspect, I don't think you could ask much more from what those guys are doing -- game plan, catching the ball well, blocking well.
"I joked about it after the game, but that [wild pitch] that got away from Bobby [accounting for Cleveland's unearned run in the first inning] was a backup slider in the ground. That's a tough pitch to block."
Scioscia wouldn't commit to a particular formula, but it seems clear that one way to go would be to have Mathis catch Dan Haren, Jered Weaver and Joel Pineiro, with Wilson handling Santana and Tyler Chatwood.
Those pairings match up with past performances and would keep both catchers fresh, with occasional revisions. The way the rotation is currently set up, the only back-to-back games would be by Mathis with Haren and Weaver.
Wilson would have a day between Santana and Chatwood, alleviating concerns Scioscia might have about his durability, given that Wilson hasn't played regularly in the Major Leagues.
"I have a lot of confidence in Bobby, defensively," Scioscia said. "The question is stamina. I don't know yet. Right now, it's going to be shared. They're both doing an excellent job on the defensive side. On the offensive side, we need more production from our catchers, obviously."
Mathis is batting .183 with 175 at-bats; Wilson is at .182 in 44 at-bats.
Overshadowed, Bourjos regains stroke
DETROIT -- Peter Bourjos made all the highlight shows on Wednesday for handling the final out of Ervin Santana's no-hitter in center field, but that wasn't all the Angels' young athlete contributed to the 3-1 victory.
Bourjos tripled and scored the first run on Mike Trout's sacrifice fly and singled home Howard Kendrick with a big insurance run in the ninth inning.
With a single and walk, Kendrick, like Bourjos, delivered offensively as well as defensively. Kendrick's backhanded nab of Jason Kipnis' shot up the middle in the sixth inning was the play that preserved the no-hitter.
"I felt like I had some good swings," said Bourjos, who'd gone 0-for-10 since returning from hamstring tightness. "It was nice to give Ervin some support on his big day. That third run was pretty important, I thought."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia also saw some positives in the offensive approach of Bourjos, who was batting .338 in 21 games preceding his trip to the disabled list.
"He was swinging very well before his hamstring injury," Scioscia said. "He was definitely searching for some things [before Wednesday], and, hopefully, he found them. He swung the bat very well."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.