In his fourth year with the Los Angeles Angels, Patrick Sandoval’s performance would indicate improvements in different areas, but to him, he isn’t satisfied with the high-wire act he’s walked.
Sandoval has already logged a career-high in innings as he heads into Friday’s start, with a 3-8 record and a 3.42 ERA in 100 innings. But all of his problems seem to arise from his inability to reduce free passes, and his four-seam fastball.
After posting an ERA of 3.62 in his age-24 season just a year ago, his fastball took a massive step back. There aren’t many pitchers around Major League Baseball who hold opponents to low numbers with their four-seam, and Sandoval allows a .411 batting average and a .589 slugging percentage.
Among starters with at least 100 innings, Sandoval has the highest walks per nine innings at 4.41, and by his own admission, is frustrated by his year, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“I’m not satisfied with the way I’ve pitched this year,” Sandoval said. “I’ve had a couple good games here and there, but on the whole, it’s been a pretty frustrating year. I’m not going to say it’s a bad year, but I am definitely not proud of the walks and hits.”
Sandoval’s 1.49 WHIP is the fifth-highest in MLB, and his ability to maintain his ERA and a FIP of 3.27 is a testament to his ability to pitch through those problematic situations.
“Somehow I put it together when my back’s against the wall or high leverage,” Sandoval said. “I kind of bear down. It’s weird because I have that mindset when there’s nobody on and it will be a four-pitch walk. That’s the most frustrating thing. It’s definitely all mental. I have the ability, the physicality, to throw strikes, throw the ball hard. It’s just a matter of finding a consistent mindset that works out in the game.”
For interim manager Phil Nevin and his pitching staff, Sandoval has been incredibly valuable, but for him to truly turn the corner, he will need to allow his above-average secondary stuff like his slider and changeup, become what he leans on the most until he gets a handle on his fastball.
Nevin praises Mike Mayers for inning-eating performance
The Angels fell to the Seattle Mariners in an 11-7 offensive battle that resulted in interim manager Phil Nevin receiving some much-needed innings from one of his bullpen pieces, set-up man turned long reliever, Mike Mayers.
Touki Toussaint started Wednesday’s game and had his shortest outing as a member of the Angels, only lasting 2.2 innings while allowing four runs on three hits, while walking four. Nevin turned the game over to Mayers to close out the third inning, and he wound up bridging the gap until the ninth.
Mayers’ 96-pitch workload included five earned runs on six hits, three of those homers. It wasn’t the prettiest performance, and it didn’t keep the Angels within striking distance, but Nevin appreciated his willingness to stick it out.
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