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Scouting the Opposing Pitcher: Ervin Santana

If nothing else, Ervin Santana has been a workhorse in nine-plus Major League seasons. Coming into 2014, Santana has averaged 187+ IP per season, ranking 11th in the Majors in innings pitched in that time. Santana was signed late in the offseason by the Atlanta Braves who went from a starting pitching surplus to an absolute drought of arms.

Santana is a 6’2″ righty that comes to the plate with an arm angle of about 2 o’clock or 60 degrees. His fastball sits in the low 90s and tends to increase in velocity as the game goes on, starting around 88, 89 and reaching as high as 95. Santana’s fastball has slight movement on it which can play to the favor of a left-handed hitter trying to pull the ball. Santana’s change-up lives in the mid 80s and it can be difficult to tell if he is throwing a fastball or a change-up. Santana’s change-ups seem to have a slight break down as it crosses the plate while his fastballs cut ever-so-slightly toward the left-handed batter’s box.

Through his career, however, Santana’s best pitch has been his slider. The slider goes very clearly left to right to a batter (right to left on your screen) with a latish-break as you’ll see at the 1:10-ish mark of this video:

The Phillies’ lefty-heavy line-up has the potential to make Santana’s night long and arduous. If they continue to take pitches, Santana’s splits indicate (.239/.293/.399 v. RH, .260/.332/.439 v. LH) that the Phillies will have some opportunities in this game to put runs on the board. The current Phillies have not seen much of Santana, only seeing him in the rare Interleague match-up. In sort of an aberration, Jayson Nix has two homers off Santana in 13 PA while no other Phillies but Marlon Byrd has more than 4 PA against him.

Tonight is a night the Phillies could put some runs on the board. Look for Chase Utley to continue his hot start and a big night from the other lefties, Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard.

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