Patrick Sandoval’s last two starts had not gone the way he — or the Los Angeles Angels — expected. Over the past two seasons, Sandoval has become a blue-chip young player and one of the team’s most reliable starters. But he had given up nine runs in his last 7.2 innings.
Against the Texas Rangers on Friday, Sandoval had a chance to correct some of the mistakes that plagued him against the L.A. Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. And for five innings, he looked to be the pitcher he and the Angels know him as.
Sandoval struck out six batters in the first five frames and allowed a grand total of three baserunners. Limiting traffic has been an issue all season for Sandoval, but he routinely showed poise in dire situations. And on Friday, it wasn’t until the sixth inning that he finally let up.
The Rangers scored their first run of the game via a Marcus Semien double that turned into a Little League home run due to a fielding error by Jo Adell. Sandoval then walked Jonah Heim, setting up Adolis Garcia for an RBI double. All told, Sandoval allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six in 5.2 frames.
It was a productive return to form for Sandoval, who finally felt like he had command over a start for the first time in a couple weeks, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I felt more in control this game than the last two,” Sandoval said. “A more controlled delivery today, a slower tempo. The last few had been getting a little quick and my arm wasn’t catching up. That was an adjustment we made this week.”
All young starters are entitled to slip-ups in their production from time to time. Especially in Sandoval’s case, as he faced two of the best and most disciplined offenses in all of baseball. But putting together a strong outing against the Rangers was important to quell any concerns.
Now, with a solid start under his belt, he can re-gain his rhythm before his next time on the mound. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s assumed his next start would be on Friday, Aug. 5 against the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have climbed their way up the American League standings, representing another good test for Sandoval.
Janson Junk likely getting second turn in rotation
Janson Junk was brought up for a spot start against the Kansas City Royals, and delivered in strong fashion. Given the state of the Angels rotation, it was unclear if he would get a second turn before heading back to Triple-A.
According to Phil Nevin, his outing against the Royals likely earned him another chance.