After weeks of being frustrated about the amount of baserunners he was allowing, Patrick Sandoval completely flipped the script in a 1-0 win for the Los Angeles Angels over the Detroit Tigers. Sandoval was incredibly efficient, allowing just four hits and facing only 28 batters in his first complete game shutout.
No Tigers baserunner ever reached second base on Sandoval Friday night. Of the four hits he allowed, three would be out at second via a double play, allowing him to face just one batter above the minimum. He faced four batters in the first inning, then faced the perfect minimum of 24 the rest of the way.
Sandoval — who came in with a WHIP significantly above league average — did not give up a walk and struck out nine batters over nine innings pitched. He also successfully pulled off 2022’s first “Maddux,” which is a complete game thrown in under 100 pitches. Sandoval finished with 97 pitches.
For a starter who had been struggling with traffic on the bases and a loss of command, Friday’s outing was almost cathartic, as just about everything went the way he dictated. Sandoval spoke about the feeling of a complete game shutout, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It’s just awesome, surreal,” Sandoval said. “It was a 1-0 [game]. I just really wanted to come through for the guys behind me. They made some really huge double plays, including one at the end. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin discussed Sandoval’s efficiency, and how it may have stemmed from having a unique approach with each new batter.
“He was really good,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. ”He faced the mininum after the first inning. To pitch deep into games, you have to change how you attack hitters, and it’s been talked about with him. It looked like each time, he went after each hitter differently. He knew he had a lot of his pitches working tonight, so he pitched each guy differently.”
This type of night was exactly what Sandoval needed. Not only is he one of the Angels best pitchers, he’s also a core piece of their future at just 25 years of age. To get back on track in a major way after some difficult outings shows that he can bounce back.
To have the mental fortitude to channel frustration into elite results is the mark of a quality starter, and there is absolutely no lack of evidence that Sandoval falls into that category.
Mike Trout bats second in return
After a 30-game absence, Mike Trout returned to the Angels lineup on Friday, batting second behind Shohei Ohtani. He went 1-for-4 with a single and two strikeouts, but hit that single at 112 mph, a great sign as he gets more comfortable with MLB pitching after the long hiatus.