These days, everyone is essentially fitting in around Jered Weaver and Zack Greinke, the only two Angels starters who remain on a five-day schedule. This time around, manager Mike Scioscia opted to keep Dan Haren on normal rest, starting him in Thursday's series finale against the Mariners -- with Greinke and C.J. Wilson respectively starting the first two games -- and pushing Santana way back.
The reason is two-fold ...
1. Santana is pitching very well lately, posting a 2.49 ERA in his last seven starts, and it seems Scioscia would prefer to pitch him against the tougher lineup. Weaver is slated to pitch the series opener at Rangers Ballpark, with Greinke on track for the finale.
2. The extra rest means Santana gets only one more regular-season start and Haren gets two. But it sets Santana up to be available out of the bullpen in the final series in Seattle next week.
"I think it gives us some flexibility in the back side," Scioscia said, "and also it gets Dan in a good position."
Weaver is lined up to pitch the regular-season finale on Oct. 3. If the Angels need to play a tiebreaker game on Oct. 4, Santana could start if he isn't used out of the bullpen. Another option could be starting Greinke on three days' rest, but given how cautious they've been with his pitch count this year, that would appear unlikely.
"I don't know if you're going to rule out anything when you get to the situation that we're in," Scioscia said, "but you have to balance your enthusiasm for trying to get your best arms out there with a little discretion with how many innings guys have under them and how they're feeling."