Patrick Sandoval has been one of the Los Angeles Angels most consistent starting pitchers since joining the rotation by accident against the Oakland Athletics. He’s been solid all year, and has yet to allow more than four runs in a start. He faced a real test of that against one of baseball’s best teams in the Houston Astros.
In the series opener, Sandoval was clearly not his usual self. Despite allowing just one hit and no runs through the first three innings of play, his fastball velocity was down and his changeup did not have the same punch. Then, it got away from him in the fourth.
He walked Carlos Correa on four pitches to start the inning, then walked Yordan Alvarez on nine pitches. Aledmys Diaz singled into shallow center field, loading the bases without an out. One pitch later — a hanging slider to Kyle Tucker — it was 4-0.
Sandoval spoke about the fourth inning and a relatively mundane performance in total, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Leadoff walks are killers,” Sandoval said. “Good teams like that will make you pay, and that’s what happened.”
“That’s just what I had today,” Sandoval said. “I just had to compete with it. I thought I did an alright job up until that fourth inning. Some pitches got away and one swing and it’s a 4-0 game. That’s just how baseball is. Just got to fight through it and get ready for the next one.”
The Angels would go on to lose to the Astros 4-1, as Zack Greinke was nearly flawless. He allowed two hits, no runs, no walks, and struck out seven over seven innings of work. Obviously, Sandoval is not quite at Greinke’s level, and the Astros do not have the injuries plaguing the offense the way the Angels do.
As Sandoval said, this is just how baseball goes. He may not have had his best stuff, and sometimes just one swing can be the difference between 0-0 and 4-0.
Minasian still looking to add pitching
One game — and especially one where only one home run was allowed — will not be the deciding factor for why the Angels make the moves they make this offseason. However, Perry Minasian is dead-set on adding pitching, as he is always looking to do.
This is in spite of the young starters that have found their stride over the course of this season.