The Los Angeles Angels came into a Thursday afternoon finale with the Tampa Bay Rays hoping to avoid a rare four-game sweep. With Patrick Sandoval on the mound, it felt like a realistic goal, as Sandoval was coming off of one of the best starts of his young career.
Through two innings, Sandoval had held the Rays scoreless with only one hit and one walk. But the third frame quickly turned sour for the Angels. Sandoval gave up a single to Jose Siri to lead off the inning. Then, Yandy Diaz lined a ball directly to David Fletcher.
In what appeared to be a heads-up play, Fletcher attempted to let the ball bounce to force a double play. But Fletcher misplayed the bounce and both runners wound up being safe. Manuel Margot then tripled to score both runs.
A poor throw on a fielder’s choice by Andrew Velazquez allowed Margot to score, and Sandoval gave up a two-run home run to Issac Paredes shortly after. All told, the Angels gave up five runs, with only one being charged to Sandoval.
Sandoval — who has been notoriously critical of himself this season — tried to focus on the positive of his start, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“To get through six is a plus for me, I think, after what happened in the third inning,” Sandoval said. “I’ve got to take some positives away. … I felt good. I felt crisp. I made them put some bad swings on some balls. The defense made some plays after that.”
Sandoval finished giving up one earned run on five hits and one walk in 6.0 innings. Overall, it was a solid start that would be backed up by the stat sheet and Angels interim manager Phil Nevin.
“We’ve got to be better all the way around,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “We let one inning get away from us. I thought Sandy threw the ball really, really well. We just made some mistakes behind him, guys that don’t normally do that.”
The Angels have had far too many nightmare innings caused by defensive miscues and other unnecessary mistakes. And while trying to avoid a four-game sweep, those types of innings can be absolute back-breakers.
Especially with the Angels offense performing the way it is right now, averaging just 2.3 runs per game over their last 10 games. They are 1-9 in that span, as allowing five-run innings makes it nearly impossible to win when the team is struggling to score three runs in total.
Jared Walsh out for season
One of the Angels primary bats — who had been struggling all year — was officially ruled out for the season on Thursday. Jared Walsh was placed on the 10-day IL with thoracic outlet syndrome, and the team was unsure how long he would be out.
Less than two hours later, Walsh was transferred to the 60-day IL, signaling that he would miss the remainder of the 2022 season.