ANAHEIM, Calif. –The Angels looked like they were gonna stop their 6-game losing streak on Monday night, but after a horrendous 9th inning collapse where the Halos gave up 6 runs to the Giants, the losing streak extended to 7 games. The Angels are now 56-58, two games under .500 and 8 games back of the 3rd Wild Card spot.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Patrick Sandoval puts together stellar performance
Patrick Sandoval did exactly what the Angels needed him to do on Monday night, throwing 6.2 innings with 8 strikeouts and just 2 runs given up. Though the game was tied when he came out at 2-2, Sandoval pitched well enough to keep the Halos in the game and preserve as least some of the bullpen. What is even more impressive is that Sandoval was able to limit his walks (something he has struggled with this season) giving up just one free pass on Monday night. Angels Manager Phil Nevin spoke on Sandoval’s performance after the game, “He was awesome, unfortunately he gave up a home run late, we’re thin right now (in the bullpen) and he knew he had to go deep in the game… he gave us a chance to win”.
After a stellar month of July where Sandoval threw 17.2 innings and gave up just 2 earned runs, he has continued to pitch well in August with 11.2 innings pitched, 11 strikeouts, and just 4 runs given up so far. Of course, the 4 runs is not spectacular, but it is important to note that Sandoval has struggled with giving up home runs most of the season and has already given up two in his first two outings of August. Sandoval has put together a good season so far with a 3.86 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 109.1 innings pitched overall. Furthermore, with some of the Angels top bullpen arms still out, the Halos need Sandoval and their other starters to continue to go deep into games to preserve a depleted bullpen.
Mickey Moniak has amazing game saving catch in 8th inning
Mickey Moniak had a crucial single in the 6th that helped drive in C.J. Cron to take a 2-1 lead, but that wasn’t his best highlight of the day. Jose Soriano got two quick outs in the top of the 8th inning, but with power hitter Joc Pederson (who hits right-handed pitching tremendously well) coming up to the plate, Angels Pitching Coach Matt Wise had to come out to talk to Soriano on how to pitch to Pederson. After throwing 3 straight balls to Pederson, Soriano got a strike call on a slider to make it 3-1. The following pitch, Soriano threw a 99 MPH fastball right down the middle of the plate and Pederson absolutely crushed it to dead center.
Everyone in the stadium thought the Giants had just tied the game at 3, but Moniak had other plans timing up his leap to rob a home-run perfectly and providing one of the best “Web Gems” of the Angels season so far. Though the Giants ended up scoring 6 runs in the 9th inning to win 8-3, Moniak kept the Angels ahead going into the 9th inning with that catch.
After the game, Moniak spoke on his catch and where the Angels can go from here, “Felt good to contribute like that, just unfortunate we couldn’t win. In this game you can never get too high or too low, just gotta wake up tomorrow and get our work in, focus on the next game”. With Mike Trout being out, Moniak has done a fantastic job defensively in center field filling in for him and continues to put together a breakout campaign.
Carlos Estevez struggles in 9th
Carlos Estevez came into last Thursday night’s game going 23/23 in save opportunities, but that feels like a distant memory now. Last Thursday, Estevez gave up a grand slam to Cade Marlowe that lost the Halos the game and all of their remaining momentum for the season. After pitching a scoreless 9th inning in Sunday’s game against the Mariners, Estevez came into close the game against the Giants on Monday with a 3-2 lead. After giving up a hit and walking a guy, Estevez then gave up a 2-RBI double to Patrick Bailey to make it 4-3 Giants. The bleeding didn’t stop there as Estevez intentionally walked Michael Conforto, and after Luis Matos moved the runners over with sacrifice bunt, he gave up a 2-RBI single to Mark Mathias to make it 6-3 Giants.
Estevez was pulled after that, but then Aaron Loup proceeded to give up two more runs (one of which was Estevez’s inherited run). After the game, Estevez spoke to reporters about his performance “I just have to be better overall, I felt good today, they hit some pretty good pitches”. In regards to where the Angels go from here, Estevez added “No one likes losing, it’s a tough patch and we’re gonna get through it, gotta keep our heads up”. Though Estevez has struggled recently, he was an All-Star for a reason and will remain the teams closer moving forward for now.
The Angels will look to secure a much-needed victory tomorrow night in game 2 against the Giants with Lucas Giolito set to take the mound. The Giants starting pitcher is TBD but first pitch is scheduled for 6:38 PM PST.