Apparently Hector Santiago has more than five-straight starts of shaky control (18/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 26.2 innings) to overcome in his return to the mound Saturday. He has to recover from a shot to his ego.
From Van Schouwen:
Santiago, who matched a career high with five walks last Friday, was unfazed by Cooper telling the media the next day that his outing was bad. What touched a nerve was Cooper questioning his pitching guts between innings.
“What kind of got me was he [suggested] I was scared of guys,’’ Santiago said.
“I would never pitch around anybody. I don’t care who you are. [Miguel] Cabrera, I’m going to go after you with my best stuff. I didn’t like that because I’m not that guy at all. If you kind of saw that, it kind of got me.’’
Presumably, Cooper is playing Santiago’s emotions like a fiddle rather permanently alienating a member of his staff, but I guess we’ll see. Santiago’s response already reads like it worked. The secret ingredient to this equation will the rest Hector received by not pitching since Aug. 3o. Santiago’s 133.2 innings pitched this season are already a professional career-high.
White Sox Lineup:
Hector Santiago, SP
Santiago will have the benefit of a youth movement behind him. Seven of the nine members of this lineup are 26 or younger. That means he gets exciting bats like Marcus Semien and Avisail Garcia supporting him, it also means he’s privy to experiences like Leury Garcia playing center field and leading off. Leury is fast and can be put anywhere, but his not being able to hit at all limits a lot of the fun of tinkering.
Baltimore Orioles Lineup:
Wei-Yin Chen, SP
Matt Wieters gets the day off because he’s a catcher and squatting is impossible, but when you can just plug in Danny Valencia and have him slug .602 over 102 plate appearances, why worry about anything?
Wei-Yin Chen has seen a precipitous drop in his strikeout rate this season, and hasn’t made it even into the fifth inning in either of his last two starts. Hopefully, that means the White Sox can stop him just short of a full nine innings of shutout ball.
Where to Watch: 12:05 pm CT on Fox
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan