Hector Santiago scuffled in three months of the season with a 5.25 ERA but bounced back with a 6-0 record and 1.78 ERA in six starts in July. He was then surprisingly traded to the Twins and failed to adapt to his new club, posting a 5.58 ERA with 13 home runs allowed in 11 starts. Santiago has always been one of the most flyball-heavy pitchers in the league and compounds that problem with a lack of control. Both issues were exacerbated last season with a career-worst 1.63 HR/9 and poor 3.91 BB/9. Perhaps Minnesota's new brain trust can harness his July success. While he'll likely enter the season comfortably in the middle of the Twins' rotation, he'll need to reverse last year's trends to keep a spot in the rotation and earn one on fantasy clubs. This is a contract year for Santiago, and the Twins would undoubtedly like to trade him to a contending team this summer, so it is in everyone's best interest that he gets off to a strong start.
The Twins placed Santiago (personal) on the bereavement list Friday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports. The left-hander will miss the weekend series and return for a Tuesday start against the Athletics. Santiago will be replaced on the roster by Buddy Boshers.
Santiago allowed two runs on six hits and four walks en route to a no-decision Wednesday against the Rangers. He struck out six. Though he allowed baserunners consistently, Santiago was able to dance around trouble until the fifth inning, when he allowed a two-run double to Rougned Odor. Unfortunately, the lefty received little run support as Cole Hamels battled on the other side, eliminating his chance of earning a win for his solid outing. Santiago underachieved last season, but he has pitched well to start 2017 and especially over his last three starts, with a 2.45 ERA and an 8.8 K/9 during that span. He will toe the rubber next against the Athletics on Tuesday.
Santiago will be placed on the bereavement list this weekend so that he can attend his grandmother's funeral, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. He will leave the team following his start Wednesday against the Rangers. Santiago's next start would be Tuesday at home against the A's, and it does not sound like he is in jeopardy of missing that start. The Twins will likely recall a reliever to take his spot on the active roster in the meantime.
Santiago (2-1) allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six over 6.1 innings in Friday's 6-3 win over the Tigers. It's his third straight quality start, and much as he did in 2016, Santiago is putting together a strong beginning to the season, sporting a 2.19 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 17:4 K:BB through 24.2 innings. Things fell apart quickly for the lefty once the calendar flipped to May last year, but his 2017 run of excellence may not be done quite yet -- his next trip to the mound comes Wednesday on the road against a Rangers team with a paltry .240 wOBA against left-handers so far this season.
Santiago threw seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks, but got a no-decision in Sunday's loss to the White Sox. Santiago left with a 1-0 lead, but the bullpen blew the lead late in the game and in extra innings. Santiago has a 1.47 ERA after three starts. While he has just a 5.5 K/9, he's also has just a 1.5 BB/9. Walks have been a problem for Santiago with a walk rate above 3.5 BB/9 each of the last five seasons, so his improved control is reason for optimism.