Patrick Sandoval, Angels Falter On Opening Day Vs. Orioles
MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels knew going into the 2024 season that if they were going to overachieve their low expectations, it would be because the young cornerstones of the franchise stepped up alongside one another. One of the key components to this plan is starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval, and it’s why he was given the keys to be the Opening Day starter against the young and talented Baltimore Orioles.

Sandoval, though, survived just five outs into the 2024 season. He gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work. After one start, his ERA is 16.2 and his WHIP is 4.800. It’s hardly the kind of start any team wants from their Opening Day starter, let alone one who is supposed to be a franchise cornerstone.

Angels manager Ron Washington wasn’t phased by Sandoval’s effort, knowing that the nerves of the moment could have easily gotten to him. He reaffirmed his confidence in Sandoval after the game, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:

“That’s OK,” Washington said. “One game. He’s gonna get maybe 30 more. It’s only one game. And it’s something that a young guy like him can learn from. And it’s an experience every time you hit that mound, and that was an experience today. We still have confidence in Sandoval. We know he will find the strike zone. Today was one of those days things didn’t go his way.”

The offense didn’t help Sandoval’s case, either. Mike Trout homered in his first at-bat of the season in the first inning, but the Angels didn’t get another baserunner in six innings against former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes. The Angels put up two late runs in an 11-3 loss.

“We didn’t do a good job on the mound and we didn’t supply any offense,” Manager Ron Washington said. “You can’t win if you don’t do either. So they beat us.”

The beauty of baseball is that there are 161 games left to make up for this dismal start. But given the way the Angels went about the offseason, the young players do, at some point, need to step up and show why Arte Moreno and company decided to build the team around them.

And Sandoval needs to put together something in his next start to back Washington’s confidence in the young starter.

Remainder of Angels-Orioles Series

The Angels and Orioles are taking Friday off before continuing their season-opening set on Saturday and conclusing it on Sunday. Saturday’s first pitch is at 1:05 p.m. PT with Griffin Canning facing off against Grayson Rodriguez. Sunday’s 10:35 a.m. PT first pitch is between Reid Detmers and Tyler Wells.

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