Santana Continues to Thrive in Higher Leverage Situations

Once happy to just make the team, the young righty is now making a difference.

Noah Hiles
May 17, 2018 - 9:57 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Entering this season as one of the final players to make the opening day roster, Edgar Santana was simply looking to help the team in any role that he could. Now, as the Pirates enter Friday in first place of the National League Central division, the 25-17 ball club has begun to look toward the 26 year old right hander in high leverage situations.

“I have been putting a lot of trust in myself now with the stuff that I have,” said Santana. “Euclides (Rojas) told me that good pitchers don’t give too much credit to the hitters, they just try to make a pitch no matter what the situation is. If I have a few men on base or no men on base I try to be the same pitcher.”

Santana’s philosophy of pitching the same way regardless of the situation was put to test in the bottom of the sixth inning in the Pirates game against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday afternoon as he entered a tie game with two outs and the bases loaded. Santana’s ability to remain cool under pressure allowed him to get his team out of a jam, which in the end led him to his first major league win.

When asked how he felt after getting his first victory in the big leagues, Santana said, “For me, it was one of the best things I have done. When I go to the mound, I try to help the team win doing whatever but to get the win is very special.”

In his last nine outings, Pirates relief pitcher Edgar Santana has been lights out, allowing just six hits and no runs. Santana has been especially dominant against left handed hitters who have just a .135 batting average against him.

“My fastball location has helped me,” said Santana. “Last year it was hard for me to throw fastballs inside to a lefty batter, now I can throw inside and outside. I can throw my two seam and changeup the same way which is very useful.”

As a whole, the Pirates bullpen has seemed to have found its stride following a bumpy start in the first few weeks of the season. For Santana, the bullpen’s success as a whole comes from each individual buying into their role for the greater good.

“We have a really good bullpen; everybody is on the same page. Everyone knows what place we are currently in and being in first place makes everyone want to give their absolute best.”