Whiff city: Sandoval fans career-high 10

June 7th, 2021

ANAHEIM -- Since joining the rotation on May 17, Angels left-hander has turned in four straight solid outings, including setting a career high with 10 strikeouts over six innings against the Mariners on Sunday, while also registering the most swings and misses by any pitcher this season.

Sandoval, who's filling in for the injured José Quintana, allowed three runs on five hits and one walk in a 9-5 loss to Seattle. He has posted a 3.15 ERA in his four starts with 19 strikeouts, six walks and two homers allowed in 20 innings.

“Sandoval did a wonderful job,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “He righted himself. He kept his composure and made his pitches. He had a really good fastball. The fastball held the velocity. They have a lot of lefties and he's left-handed, but he did a nice job with the righties, too, with the change. I think his fastball command and changeup was really good and he started dropping in some sliders later. I think he had everything going on."

He incredibly induced 32 swings and misses against Seattle, which is the highest total in the Majors this season, surpassing Jacob DeGrom's 29 on April 23 and Dylan Cease's 29 on May 27. It's the most swings and misses registered by an Angels pitcher by a wide margin, surpassing the record of 25 set by Jered Weaver (May 12, 2010), Shohei Ohtani (April 8, 2018) and Matt Shoemaker (May 27, 2016). It was the most by any pitcher since deGrom had 35 on Sept, 6, 2020. Sandoval got 17 whiffs with his changeup, eight with his slider, four with his four-seamer, two with his sinker and one with his curveball.

"I felt good today," Sandoval said. "I had my stuff working for a majority of the game. I'm just happy I could step in and give quality innings for the team."

Sandoval finished his outing strong, retiring the final 11 batters he faced, including six strikeouts. He also set a career high with 101 pitches while his six innings matched a career best that he set twice last year. Sandoval mentioned he was pleased to get a longer leash from Maddon.

"It's good that Joe trusted me in the sixth and get to 100 [pitches]," Sandoval said. "That was awesome."

Sandoval scuffled a bit in the first, however, walking leadoff batter J.P. Crawford and throwing a wild pitch that allowed him to reach second. After a single from Ty France, Kyle Seager brought home the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly to left.

After a 1-2-3 second with two strikeouts, Sandoval was greeted by a leadoff homer from Donovan Walton in the third on a first-pitch fastball. The pitch was inside, but Walton was able to turn on it. Crawford followed with a double and scored on a single from Seager. Sandoval managed to escape further trouble with two runners on and one out by getting Tom Murphy to fly out to right and punching out Jacob Nottingham.

That was the start of Sandoval’s stretch of 11 straight batters retired, as he was able to finish his outing on a good note. He's likely to remain in the rotation with Quintana still out with left shoulder inflammation.

"He's taking the opportunity and running with it,” Maddon said. “I've always liked the stuff. For me, he's just more comfortable in his Major League skin. Just the way he's going about his day, even when he's not pitching, and I think he's been influenced in a good way from some other veteran starting pitchers. I think he's morphing into a better version of a Major League pitcher just by handling the moment. I think stuff-wise, he's the same, but it's a better application of his stuff."