Sunday was a day of firsts for Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval. After setting an Angels franchise record starting 19 consecutive games without a win, he finally made it happen with yet another impressive performance as a stand-in starter. He allowed just two runs over six innings while striking out four.
He also got in the mix offensively, showing bunt and then pulling back to line a single to shallow right-center field in the second inning. He would then reach third base — and score — as a part of a four-run innings that gave the Halos a 6-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sandoval’s win marked not only his first, but the sixth consecutive victory for the Angels.
Sandoval has also been a source of good luck, as he has brought out the lineup card in all six of the wins this week. Manager Joe Maddon gave his thoughts on what has allowed Sandoval to achieve his recent success, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“It’s great,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “I’ve been on this guy’s potential since the first time I saw him last year. I think more than anything, he really has a stronger sense of belonging and knowing he can do this. He had been more in survival mode, but I think he’s getting beyond that point. He went out there and had great composure and made great pitches, primarily fastball-changeup.”
Sandoval also spoke about what’s worked for him and the magnitude of getting his first MLB hit and win on the same day.
“I think I’ve been throwing the ball well,” Sandoval said. “It’s just the consistency of locating the fastball is huge for me. And the changeup is a big swing-and-miss pitch for me. It’s about executing pitches, and I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.”
“We worked on it a lot and it paid off,” Sandoval said of his hit. “I already gave the ball to my mom. Hopefully she doesn’t lose it. I’m hoping to frame it with the bat, batting gloves and maybe the helmet.”
As a starter this season, Sandoval has pitched 26 innings and has allowed 24 hits and 10 walks translating to eight total earned runs. He has an ERA of 2.77 in starts and has thrown 23 strikeouts.
If it wasn’t clear before Sunday, it should be very clear now. Sandoval absolutely deserves a full-time spot on the rotation. Perhaps Jose Quintana, who has been on the injured list, could be the one who loses his spot. However, it’s also possible that the Angels run with all seven. Regardless, Sandoval is no longer a candidate to be removed from the rotation when everyone is healthy.
Angels over .500 for first time since May 1
With the Angels big win over the Diamondbacks, they completed their second consecutive sweep and won six straight in the process. With that, they are now 33-32, the first time they’ve been over .500 since May 1, when they were 13-12. Being 20-20 in the last six weeks doesn’t even begin to describe the ups and downs this team has gone through.