Hector Santiago hopes he can halt his decline in time to contribute to the Los Angeles Angels' success against the Detroit Tigers - which could also add to Anibal Sanchez's downward spiral.
Santiago looks to eat up more innings Tuesday night while lifting the Angels to a series victory over Sanchez and the visiting Tigers.
Los Angeles (23-28) won Monday's opener 5-1, its 10th victory in the last 11 games between these teams. The Angels have won eight straight home games against Detroit (24-26) and 14 of the last 15 in Anaheim.
Another victory would likely mean a longer Santiago outing.
Santiago (3-3, 4.58 ERA) lasted just 2 2/3 innings of a 9-4 loss to Baltimore on May 20, getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes after allowing four runs and three homers. He then pitched only 2 1/3 innings in his latest start solely because he was ineffective, giving up six runs in Wednesday's 15-9 loss at Texas.
Santiago couldn't hold on after getting spotted a 1-0 lead in the first inning and a 4-1 advantage in the second.
"I just kind of fell apart," he told MLB's official website. "I didn't have my good stuff. Seeing-eye singles fell through, and (it was) just an all-around bad day. I was falling behind in counts, not making some great pitches. It just didn't go our way."
After posting a 3.42 ERA in his first eight starts, Santiago has a 16.20 mark in his last two.
Santiago is 1-4 in seven career starts against the Tigers despite a 2.66 ERA. That number is only inflated that high because of the five runs he gave up in 4 1/3 innings of a 5-0 loss at Detroit on Aug. 26.
Sanchez has experienced a much steeper decline this season than Santiago.
Sanchez (3-6, 6.04) has lost six of his last eight starts, including 0-4 in the last five while allowing at least four runs in each.
The right-hander's ERA is higher than at the conclusion of any of his first 10 seasons. It actually went down from 6.23 in his latest start because three of the six runs he allowed were unearned in six innings of Wednesday's 8-5 loss to Philadelphia.
Sanchez has surrendered six home runs in his last four starts and 11 on the season. The one that hurt the most against the Phillies was Odubel Herrera's three-run shot in the fourth inning after two Detroit errors.
''I feel like everything bad is happening right now. I think I've made really good pitches, but one little mistake and I pay for it,'' Sanchez said. ''One mistake is hitting me (with) three runs, it's not like one mistake and it's a base hit or something like that.''
Sanchez's teams have lost all four of his career starts against Los Angeles - he suffered the defeat in the last three - despite his 2.60 ERA. He held the Angels to a pair of runs in seven innings of a 2-0 loss last May 29.
Albert Pujols homered off Sanchez in that game and is 7 for 22 with a pair of doubles in the all-time matchup. Pujols has nine RBIs in his last eight games overall and 11 in his last eight versus Detroit, including an RBI single Monday.
Nick Castellanos, batting .320, is 0 for 11 during the Tigers' current three-game losing streak.