Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 9/22/12
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For all anybody knows, Ervin Santana might be nearing the end of his Angels tenure. There could be one more start on his schedule, maybe two. If his career in an Angels uniform is indeed about to end, he can be soothed by the fact he's going out with his best stuff. In a season of inconsistency and unmet expectations, Santana is finishing with a flourish. He's throwing strikes, mixing his pitches, keeping hitters off balance and winning games. He's also in the last year of a four-year, 30 contract he signed with the Angels in 2009. There's a club option for 13 million next season, but the Angels can also buy him out for a paltry 1 million. In effect, Santana is pitching to keep his job. "I don't even think about that," he said late Friday night. "I just think about right now. When they give me a chance to pitch, I'm going to pitch and do my job. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen." His seven-inning, two-hit, 11-strikeout effort in a 6-1 Angels win over the Chicago White Sox might give the Angels pause. The victory put them 3 games out in the American League wild card race with 11 to play. Their fate has been out of their hands for several days. Their best and only hope is to win and hope the teams ahead of them -- the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland A's -- lose. "We have our backs against the wall," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We know the situation. But some teams are going to come back to you, and you want to be in position to take advantage of it. We need to win ballgames. "I don't think there's anybody in that room that's tight. There's nobody in that room that doesn't understand the situation." Certainly, Santana does. He gave up a leadoff home run to Alejandro De Aza -- his major-league-leading 36th home run allowed this season -- then retired 21 of the next 23 batters he raced. Santana, who has given up two earned runs or fewer in six of his past seven starts, credited an effective changeup that kept the White Sox off balance. He said he threw 13 of them compared to the five or six he would normally throw. "I had a good feel for it today and mixed it up with my fastball and my slider," he said. "I was throwing it for strikes, and for balls, too." Despite his struggles -- and there have been plenty of them this season -- he insisted he's not pitching with anything to prove. After eight seasons with the Angels and 96 wins, he feels he's shown enough. "I don't have to prove anything," he said. "I just have to believe in myself, trust my stuff and pitch." If he'd done that all season, who knows where the Angels would be? Rather than fighting to advance to the playoffs, they might be in better position. "There's a lot of ifs that a every team can talk about," Scioscia said. "For what we put into our starting rotation and how much weight they carry, there's no doubt it's affected where we're at at this point in the season." All they can do now is finish strong and hope for the best. The same goes for Santana.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eight things the college football polls got wrong for Week 9

Dwight Freeney set to meet with Seahawks, take physical

Draymond Green taunts Dennis Smith after denying dunk attempt

Metta World Peace hired by G-League team as assistant coach

Hue Jackson: Kizer's night out won't affect QB decision

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Peters carted off field after suffering leg injury

Watch video of Duke basketball’s weird pep rally, with players dancing and more

Steph Curry consoles Devin Harris’ nephew, who lost father in car accident

Dodgers/Astros could be a World Series for the ages

Marcin Gortat fires back at LaVar Ball, defends John Wall

Clayton Kershaw downplays impact of heat for Game 1

Dodgers, Astros top all-time postseason highlights

The 'Best offense is a good defense' quiz

Path to the 2017 World Series - Houston Astros

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Path to the 2017 World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers

Path to the 2017 World Series - Houston Astros

Dodgers, Astros top all-time postseason highlights

The 'Best offense is a good defense' quiz

MLS Decision Day: East to be a rumble while West up for grabs

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker