Patrick Sandoval will be on the mound to start the game for the Los Angeles Angels Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays in Anaheim, Calif., and he wants very badly to be in the same spot when the game ends as well.
Sandoval (3-1, 1.79 ERA) pitched into the eighth in his start last Sunday against Oakland, but was replaced with one out in the inning after he issued a walk. When Sandoval returned to the dugout, he slammed his hat and glove to the ground.
Sandoval explained that he wasn't upset with the decision by manager Joe Maddon to remove him. He was upset with himself.
"I would've loved to get out of the eighth and maybe go into the ninth," he said. "But the walk ended it. My mentality every game is to start it and finish it. I understand getting pulled, but there's never a time I want to give the ball up."
Likewise, Maddon didn't take Sandoval's outburst personally.
"He wants to pitch into the ninth inning and I know that," Maddon said. "He's got an attitude about him in the best of ways. He doesn't want to come out. He wants to pitch nine and be that guy.
"I love it. I've seen him grow the last couple years. He used to go to the fourth or fifth with a high pitch count and struggle and come out and be all upset. But he's gotten past that."
In 36 career starts dating to 2019, Sandoval has yet to throw a complete game. But Maddon said Sandoval will get there because he's been able to lower his pitch count by having better command of his fastball.
"For my money, when he has his fastball command he should normally be pitching into the seventh, eighth and ninth inning," Maddon said.
Sandoval has never faced the Blue Jays, and Sunday is a perfect opportunity to show them just what he can do. The Angels have lost the first three of a four-game series and could use a win before heading on a six-game road trip to face the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (3-2, 4.75 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season for the Blue Jays. He's coming off a no-decision last Monday when he gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings against St. Louis.
Berrios is 2-4 with a 5.67 ERA in six career starts vs. the Angels.
Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen might get a day off on Sunday, but he'd still be available as a hitter off the bench, especially considering his recent resurgence at the plate.
Jansen started the season hot, going 4 for 7 with two homers in his first two starts, but an oblique injury sent him to the injured list and he missed 30 games. When he returned to the starting lineup on May 14, Jansen wasn't quite the same.
He went 2 for 13 over his first six games upon his return, but in the past week seems to have regained his stroke. Despite going 0 for 4 in Saturday's 6-5 win over the Angels, he has three home runs in his past three starts.
"Really just trying to maximize what I'm really good at," Jansen said. "I feel like I'm good at pulling the ball. ... I think that finally, it took me a couple of years with struggling and stuff and kind of figuring out who I am. I'm still learning about it, but I wouldn't change the road at all."
--Field Level Media