I can understand everybody's frustration with Santana given that he's virtually a guaranteed "L" on the road unless he's given ALOT of run support.
At the same time one cannot forget he's almost as equally a sure "W" at home, and if he's our 5th starter, .500 is better than 90% of the MLB competition. Furthermore Black Magic has MUCH better stuff and upside than ANY 5th starter in MLB save for maybe Hughes(when he's healthy again) and Lincecum.
His numbers so far this season are simply more of the same as for his career and are somewhat skewed due to the fact that he has 5 road starts vs. only 4 home starts. Reverse those figures and his ERA is probably only a hair above his career ERA prior to the 2007 season (4.42). Furthermore, prior to 2007 Ervin had 31 starts at home vs. only 25 on the road so the sky isn't so much falling, but rather staying the same shade of grey so to speak.
While trying to search for answers here it behooves one remember that Ervin is ONLY 24 years old, the age that many top pitching prospects are first getting their feet wet. It is also a full year younger than our current Ace, "Thunder Mountain" John Lackey was when he posted this line over the course of April/May 2004:
Those number are virtually IDENTICAL to Ervin's YTD line of:
And Ervin has 1 more home start with which to improve on those numbers.
Let's not lose perspective here. Santana is still a very young pitcher with great stuff whose only problem so far has been a mental one in that for some reason he's comfortable at the Big A and uncomfortable everywhere else while Lackey's problems in early 2004 were less Home/Road centric.
I still think it's too early to tell whether or not he's just another young arm who needs to make adjustments while going through a tough patch or a full-scale basket-case a la Ankiel/Wohlers.
My money is on somewhere in the middle. I do agree that he could use a bit of time in AAA or the bullpen (better option) to get his head on straight while Saunders steps in for awhile.
It is NOT the time to move him since we'd most definitely be selling low. Even if he stays in the rotation and pitches .500 ball for the rest of the regular season, he can be of value in the postseason so long as Sosh has the foresight to align the rotation in such a way that Ervin only starts at the Big-A.