With the July 31st non-waiver Trade Deadline quickly approaching, Santana's start could go a long way toward showing Dipoto whether the Angels should make a deal for a starting pitcher by the end of the month.
In his last start before the All-Star break, Santana surrendered eight runs on six hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings vs. the Indians on July 4. In his last two starts, the right-hander has allowed 13 runs on 13 hits and six walks in just 6 1/3 innings.
It looked like Santana had gotten out of his sour groove when he tossed a one-hit shutout on June 16, and followed it up with a two-run, eight-inning outing in his next start. But as it has been all season for the 29-year-old, the peaks have often been followed by deep valleys.
"It's a little bit frustrating, because you know you have everything how you want it -- the velocity is there, your breaking pitches are there, and the ball is coming out of your hand well," Santana said. "But at the same time, you have to think positively and know that things will work out well."
While Santana is on another one of his down streaks, his counterpart on the Tigers, Rick Porcello, has been stellar of late.
In his last four starts, the righty has given up just six runs in 23 2/3 innings, lowering his season ERA from 5.18 to 4.47. But in his last start before the break, he allowed 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings, but held the Twins to just three runs.
"At this point in my career, I don't really pay attention to my box score after a game," Porcello said following his last start. "The type of pitcher I am, I'm going to give up hits. That doesn't always look great, but the bottom line is we went out there and won the game. That's the most important thing."
Angels: No slowing down for Trout
After Mike Trout became the first rookie in American League history to lead the league in both batting average (.341) and stolen bases (26) at the All-Star break, the outfielder showed no signs of slowing down in the first series after the break against the Yankees.
In the three-game series in New York, Trout went 7-for-14 with four doubles, four stolen bases, three runs and an RBI. Since May 1, the 20-year-old leads the Majors with 60 runs scored, and leads the AL by reaching base 121 times.
Right fielder Torii Hunter was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Sunday because of tightness in his right groin. He did enter the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, however.
The tightness in his right groin happened on Friday when he was chasing down Russell Martin's game-winning hit in the Yankees' eighth-inning rally.
"I'm 95 percent," Hunter said. "Never 100, so I say 95."
Tigers: Berry impressing Leyland
Through his first 44 games in the Majors, rookie Quintin Berry has a .297 batting average and .381 on-base percentage. He hit an RBI single in the 13th inning during Saturday's extra-inning loss to the Orioles.
The 13th-inning hit was part of a 3-for-6 day at the plate, his sixth game with at least three hits. No Tigers player has had more three-or-more hit games in their first 44 career appearances since Pat Mullin had seven in 1941.
"He's been pretty darn consistent," manager Jim Leyland said. "You've got to tip your hat to him. He's done one [heck] of a job. I like that extra dimension, speed, that he gives us. He's done a terrific job. He's stayed calm. He's prepared. He's been very impressive."
Monday's game will mark the first meeting of the season between the Angels and Tigers. The Halos won last year's season series, 4-3, and are 23-17 in Detroit since 2002.
The Tigers have won seven of their last eight games overall, while the Angels have won three of their last nine games on the road, including dropping two of three against the Yankees over the weekend.