Patrick Sandoval is not having the season he hoped he would have after breaking out during the 2021 campaign and becoming a legitimate core piece of the Los Angeles Angels’ future. And his frustrations continued on Friday night against the Minnesota Twins.
Sandoval allowed just two earned runs in 5.0 innings, but gave up five hits and four walks while striking out four. It followed the same formula as many of his other starts, where he managed to keep run totals low but couldn’t prevent traffic on the base paths. The Twins would go on to win 4-0 with Sandoval picking up his eighth loss of the season.
He actually has a better ERA in 2022 (3.42) than he did in 2021 (3.62). However, his WHIP (1.490) is atrocious compared to last season (1.207). He’s struck out a career-high 106 batters, but has walked a career-high 49 as well. He’s walked two batters or more in each of his last 12 starts.
Perhaps no one is harder on Sandoval, though, than himself. Following the 4-0 loss, Sandoval described exactly what has been so difficult about 2022 thus far, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“This season has been pretty frustrating for me pitching-wise,” Sandoval said. “I either lose it in an inning or a couple at-bats in a row. I’ve been able to limit damage this year, which is a positive, but I have to pitch better.”
Talking about Friday night specifically, Sandoval was particularly upset at the four walks he allowed in five innings, another sign of his overall lack of control.
“I’m not happy with how I threw the ball today,” Sandoval said. “Four walks is embarrassing and unacceptable. Props to the defense playing behind me and making some plays. I was just fighting myself the whole game.”
“The walks have just been atrocious,” Sandoval said. “It’s definitely something I need to improve.”
Everyone, from fans to the Angels organization to Sandoval himself, knows that he can be better. Every pitcher goes through ebbs and flows in the early stages of their career, but the truly great players can bounce back.
Sandoval’s ability to limit run damage this season shows that he is capable of bouncing back. But now, that needs to reflect itself in lower hit and walk counts. His walks-per-nine and his K-to-BB ratio are the worst of his young career.
If he can use the remainder of this season to work on getting more pitches in the strike zone, he can build up some much-needed confidence as he heads into a massively important 2023 campaign for the Angels franchise.
Nevin deciding on closer
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin revealed he is down to three pitchers for the closer role this season. Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, and Jose Quijada are the three relievers still vying to be the full-time close for the final two months of the season.