John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar combined for 37 victories last season, so when they both went onto the disabled list to start the season, there was every reason for the Los Angeles Angels to cough, wheeze and sputter for the season's first several weeks.
More impressive, it's only the second time in major-league history, according to Elias Sports Bureau research, that one team has had a pair of pitchers go 5-0 or better in the month of April. The only other time: Aaron Sele and Rick Helling did it for the 1998 Texas Rangers.
Who, no coincidence, wound up winning the AL West that season.
"We have to keep going, keep it up," Santana said after knocking off Oakland on Wednesday to go 5-0. "I'm 300 percent, 500 percent positive that I can do better."
Santana's math may be a tad off, but he was smiling as he said it and his point was made.
"Joe and Ervin have kind of matched each other pitch for pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia says. "They've really been the lead dogs for our rotation."
And the woofing is only going to get louder. While Saunders takes his 5-0 record into Sunday's series finale against Baltimore, Lackey will make his third injury-rehabilitation start for Rancho Cucamonga Quakes -- also on Sunday afternoon. So far, so good with Lackey, and the Angels have him tentatively scheduled to rejoin their rotation on May 14 in Kansas City.