The Los Angeles Angels bounced back from being shutout against the Kansas City Royals by returning the favor in a 6-0 win at Kauffman Stadium. José Suarez turned in his best start of the season as he allowed only three hits in 5.1 scoreless innings.
Through his first 11 starts of the season, Suarez mostly relied on his four-seam fastball and changeup. However, in Tuesday’s matchup against the Royals, he primarily used his slider and sinker.
Suarez threw his slider 44% of the time, which was up from the 10% he averaged for most of the season. He also threw his sinker 24% of the time, meaning the two pitches accounted for two-thirds of his arsenal.
Angels interim manager Phil Nevin believes Suarez has benefited from his new pitch mix, via Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“The two-seamer has really been a game-changer for him,” Nevin said. “He’s able to command it to both sides of the plate, and then bury the slider to righties and then get lefties to chase on the outside part of the plate. It’s been good for him.”
Suarez also noted that he feels comfortable mixing in a changeup at times while on the mound:
“I have a changeup too,” he said through an interpreter. “The slider is also good. I have a lot of confidence in all the pitches.”
After a breakout 2021 campaign, Suarez has taken a step back this season. He has posted a 2-4 record, 5.01 ERA, 5.03 FIP and 1.49 WHIP in 12 games (10 starts), but the Angels are hoping the left-hander will be able to build on his performance against the Royals.
Suarez spent some time with Triple-A Salt Lake earlier this season as the Angels hoped to get him back on track for a return to the Majors.
Angels-Royals series finale
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Angels and Royals will meet in the rubber match on Wednesday morning.
L.A. will send Janson Junk to the mound for the series finale while Kansas City is countering with Brad Keller.