On the day Ervin Santana was traded, a look back on his ten greatest games as an Angel
We remember his nicknames (Magic, El Meneo, Voodoo, Boodoo, Black Magic, Abe Lincoln) and his penchant for winning night games at home and losing miserably in day games on the road. His ever-changing appearance (tattoos, beard, acne, puffcheeks) and hot wife only made his eight years in Anaheim all the more entertaining. At times he looked like he could care less that your favorite team was losing and at other times he looked like striking out major league hitters was easier than eating a slice of pizza.
How many of these games do you remember?
#1 - July 27, 2011 - No Hitter in Cleveland
This one takes the cake of course. It was the first time he had ever beaten the Indians.
#2 - October 10, 2005 - ALDS Game 5 Emergency Relief at home against New York
Bartolo Colon threw out his back in this game. With the series on the line, Santana battled a tough Yankees lineup as the Angels bats did the rest. He allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, but pitched from the second inning into the seventh and got the win as the Halos advanced and took a postseason series from the hated Yanks in the process.
Ervin battled against Justin Verlander in Detroit and when Fernando Rodney blew the Save in the ninth, Magic got two more outs before giving Brian Fuentes the chance to not blow it. Final score Angels 2, Tigers 1. But it was the postgame interview with Jose Mota where he described the simplicity of his approach that made him an Angels immortal.
#4 - May 23, 2005 - Home debut complete game shutout of Chicago
In his major league debut a few days prior he was shelled in Cleveland. The White Sox (eventual world champions that season) were not so lucky as the screams of WHO IS THIS KID greeted the 22-year old mysterious Dominican. It was not hard to call him Magic as he seemingly appeared out of nowhere and nonchalantly shrugged off the lousy debut to give the hometown fans a treat.
#5 - September 28, 2009 - Division Clincher at home against Texas
The Angels won this game easily, 11-0, but Ervin cruised thru the Rangers for a complete game shutout. The team clinched and in an indelible moment, celebrated with champagne at the Nick Adenhart memorial in Centerfield.
#6 - September 27, 2005 - Division Clincher on the road against Oakland
The Athletics battled, but with a few games left in the season the ran out of gas. Ervin pitched into the seventh inning in Oakland and got the win in this 4-3 victory, the first back to back division title in team history.
#7 - June 16, 2012 - Perfect Into the Seventh One-Hitter at home against Arizona
Ervin was perfect thru 6.2 innings against the Diamondbacks, settling for a one-hit, one-walk, five-strikeout performance - the 2-0 complete game shutout the seventh of his career and his 91st Win as a pitcher.
#8 - April 18, 2010 - A tight Complete Game on the road against Toronto
This complete game 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays earned Ervin a whopping .662 WPA (Win Percentage Added), the highest of any single game in his career.
#9 - August 1, 2008 - Eight innings of shutout ball in the Bronx
In the 100-Win season of 2008, Ervin's best game was an eight-inning battle in the Bronx. The final score of 1-0 in this Angels win was punctuated by Ervin's 8 strikeouts.
#10 - September 24, 2006 - Pennant Push Brilliance in Oakland
Even though the 89-Win Angels lost the AL West in 2006, they kept it close and took it down to the wire, epitomized by Ervin going 8 innings and allowing only one run in a much-needed title-chase victory.