When a player gets the call up from Triple-A to make their MLB debut, it’s often the best day of their professional career up to that point. This was the case for Los Angeles Angels pitcher Cooper Criswell.
The Halos were in a bind and needed a starting pitcher for Friday night. They turned to Criswell, who had solid numbers at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season. However, it’s very rare for any prospect to hit the ground running and have an amazing debut, outside of the true top-level guys.
Criswell was no different, giving up three runs and six hits over just 1.1 innings of work. In the first inning, Criswell worked around a leadoff double by Fernando Tatis Jr. to allow no runs, but fell apart in the second inning, allowing five consecutive hits for three runs before being taken out.
Despite that, Criswell will always look back at this day positively, as he was able to make the leap to The Show, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It was an unbelievable experience,” Criswell said. “It was a dream come true that finally this day has gotten here. A lot of hard work and dedication to get here. I just had some jitters today and some excitement. I just wasn’t locating my stuff early in counts and fell behind, and that didn’t help me much.”
Joe Maddon explained the decision to remove Criswell despite thinking that they had found something really positive in the first inning.
“They were hitting him pretty hard,” Maddon said of Criswell. “In the first inning, he got them to put the ball on the ground a couple times. I thought, ‘Here we go.’ And then in the next inning, I just didn’t feel comfortable with him and I wanted to keep the game close.”
When Criswell was taken out, the Angels were trailing 3-0. After Packy Naughton came in and pitched 4.1 innings without giving up an earned run — but two unearned runs — the Angels trailed 5-0. They ultimately lost by that exact margin.
Friday night’s game was a perfect example of needing trustworthy pitching each and every night. The Angels started a player that Maddon had never met prior to Friday, while the San Diego Padres had trusted arm Joe Musgrove, who threw a complete game shutout.
Patrick Sandoval out for year
It was announced on Friday that Patrick Sandoval will miss the rest of the season due to a stress fracture in his lower back. This is the same injury that Griffin Canning suffered, forcing the Halos to look internally at their training staff and routines.