Angels News: Tucker Davidson Credits Improved Slider In First Halos Victory
MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Angels
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tucker Davidson was the man on the mound as the Los Angeles Angels tried to secure a series win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. After a difficult outing in his Angels debut, Davidson spent time working on his slider and changeup to increase his swing and miss totals.

Things looked bleak in the first inning, though, when Davidson walked Carlos Correa then gave up a two-run home run. to Byron Buxton. But the former Atlanta Braves prospect quickly settled in, and wound up pitching one of the better games of his young MLB career.

Davidson finished with 6.0 innings pitched, giving up just the two earned runs on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts. The swing-and-miss numbers were not exactly where Davidson hoped they would be, but he significantly limited his walks.

He heavily featured his slider, throwing it 35 times in 87 pitches. Davidson spoke about what that pitch was able to do for him on Sunday afternoon, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:

“My slider was really good today,” said Davidson, who picked up his second career win and his first with the Angels. “It had the same shape as it was earlier in the season and it’s made a lot of progress. I felt like I had better direction today in my mechanics. It’s something I’ve really focused on the last week. Just trying to go more toward home plate and not falling off toward third base.”

Angels interim manager Phil Nevin also credited Davidson for the work he put in with pitching coach Matt Wise since joining the team at the deadline.

“He had his slider and landed a couple good changeups,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s really been working on that changeup with Wiser, who is terrific at teaching that pitch. He threw some really good ones today. It’s more of a look [for the hitters] and it’s in their head now.”

Davidson’s victory on Sunday was just the second of his Major League career, and his first with the Angels. And while it does very little for L.A. in the standings, there’s no telling what it could do for the career trajectory of the 26-year old Davidson.

Every start for this young pitcher is a chance to prove he can be in a potentially contending rotation in 2023. Starts like Sunday show him to be capable of that, if he can build upon the success for his next outing.

Patrick Sandoval frustrated with walks

Although Angels starter Patrick Sandoval is firmly in the team’s future plans moving forward, he has had some difficulty with command during the 2022 season. Of course, he’s still managed to turn in several great performances, but he was a bit uneven in his most recent start.

He expressed frustration with himself for the amount of traffic he’s allowed on the base paths this year, especially via the free pass.

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