The Los Angeles Angels suffered their sixth consecutive loss and ninth in their last 10 games in blowout fashion against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. A 10-3 beating is yet another tally in a long line of big losses collected over the past five weeks, and it signaled another difficult outing for starter Patrick Sandoval.
A four-run third inning plagued Sandoval, spearheaded by two-run singles from Austin Hays and Aaron Hicks. Sandoval gave up four earned runs (seven total) over five innings of work. Seven hits and four walks resulted in his ninth outing this season with at least 10 combined hits and walks.
Sandoval had one of his strongest outings of the year on Aug. 25 against the New York Mets. But his last two starts have been a return to the struggles that have defined much of his 2023 campaign. He has nine earned runs (12 total) in 8.2 innings with 12 hits, seven walks and only six strikeouts.
The young Angels starter spoke about the difficulties and what he’s been searching for, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I’ve just been grinding,” Sandoval said. “It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve just been trying to find a rhythm and trying to get things to click.”
Sandoval entered 2023 as arguably the Angels’ No. 2 starter behind Shohei Ohtani. He had a remarkable 2022 campaign that saw him post a 2.91 ERA over 148.2 innings. He had a relatively high 1.34 WHIP, but the tools for success were all there for Sandoval.
But his regression has been one of the more confusing storylines for the Angels this season. After Tuesday, he has a 4.31 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 131.2 innings. Both numbers are his worst as a full-time starter in a season where he has pitched at least 50 innings.
The Angels should still consider Sandoval a core piece of their rotation alongside Reid Detmers. But L.A. and the 26-year-old Mission Viejo native must figure out how to return to the pitcher that showed flashes of elite pitching between 2021 and 2022.
Detmers eyeing strong finish
The other young Angels cornerstone starter, Detmers, has also fallen on some hard times as the season winds to a close. But his mentality has not changed, as he’s searching for a strong finish to the season to lead him into a better 2024 campaign.
Because he is still in the early part of his career, Detmers has time to refine his skills which will allow him to become a solid middle of the rotation piece.