So, my wife and I had been noticing that Ervin Santana will go to great lengths to NOT pitch to Mike Napoli. Mathis was his catcher of choice, and that's no secret. But when Mathis went down, who did Santana pitch to? Bobby Wilson. And when Bobby Wilson went down, who did Santana pitch to? Budde. We were under the impression that there must really be some pretty bad blood between Santana and Napoli, if Voodoo was willing to pitch to the 4th string catcher before he pitched to Napoli.
However, in yesterday's game, Naps was run out there, and how did Santana fair? He had his best game since the complete game in Toronto. So, what happened? Did Nipples and Voodoo have a heart to heart, and clear the air? After a mediocre performance pitching to Budde, did Ervin decide Napoli is the lesser of two evils? Or did Scioscia just lay down the law, tell him to quit being a baby, and pitch to Napoli?
None of us can really do anymore than speculate as to why Santana finally pitched to Naps again, but it is fun to notice some interesting coincidences and nuances from the game. First, Santana had his best game since the CG in Toronto. Second, Napoli was using a sequence of signs even when a runner was only on first base. As Victor Rojas and Gubi were saying, perhaps the opposition was relaying signs somehow, and the Angels caught wind. Third, Santana started using an unorthodox, overemphasized glove-jiggle when pitching from the wind-up. Again, Rojas and Gubi commented that perhaps Ervin and Butcher had reviewed video, and discovered that he was tipping his pitches. Fourth, Napoli had a 3 hit game, showing signs of getting his centerfield power stroke back.
Which of these points do you think are significant? Do you think this decent outing for Santana throwing to Napoli is a sign that Naps is improving defensively? How will it impact the team if Santana now feels he can pitch to Napoli and be successful? Is my post a complete waste of time? All in all, I think this is one positive to take away from an otherwise dismal loss in a string of abysmal losses.