The Angels leaned to Patrick Sandoval as they looked to open the series against the Athletics with a win. Oakland, who is 21-45 in their home stadium this year, provides Los Angeles with a nice opportunity to steal a series on the road. Sandoval would pitch well through the first three innings of the game before allowing a 5-run fourth inning that would put the big dent in his start. He would not see the end of the inning and was removed from the ballgame with the Angels in a hole. Despite a run in the 8th for Los Angeles, Oakland would also add on with 2 runs of their own and eventually secure a 9-2 win.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Sandoval, Barria have tough games
Coming off of a very solid start in his last appearance against the Mets, Patrick Sandoval simply did not have the same stuff. While he got through the first 3 innings smoothly, the 4th inning saw him allow all 5 hits he gave up in the game to surrender a 5-0 lead to the Athletics. The 5 hits allowed came along with 3 walks as Sandoval displayed a lack of control and location. He was removed with one out still to get in the 4th inning and forced Los Angeles to play keep-up for the rest of the game. The next 2 relief pitchers, Jimmy Herget and Gerardo Reyes, were able to calm things down in the 5th and 6th innings while the Angels tried to fight back. Pitching the 7th and 8th innings was Jaime Barria, who let things completely slip away after allowing 4 ER in the 2 innings that he pitched.
Barria’s performance comes as a familiar sight that Angels fans are used to seeing from their bullpen. Los Angeles’ bullpen unit holds an ERA of 4.72, which is on pace to finish as the 7th-worst mark in all of baseball. Rocky bullpen performances combined with tough outings from the starting pitcher are just a recipe for failure, and the team cannot expect to win games with such pitching performances going forward.
Angels stumped by JP Sears
JP Sears’ performance this season so far has perfectly fit in with the theme of the Oakland Athletics and their season as a whole. His 2-11 record heading into the game symbolized his struggles this year, and the Angels had themselves a nice opportunity to tag him for some early runs. However, Sears bounced back rather nicely from his previous start against the White Sox in which he allowed 6 ER. Sears was able to toss the first 6 innings of the game while allowing just 4 hits and no runs to come across for the Angels. It was one of his best starts of the season, and Los Angeles could not seem to figure things out against him. He recorded just his third win of the year (3-11) and was a major reason for Oakland’s win in front of the home crowd (which clocked in at a mere 26% in stadium capacity). The bullpen for the Athletics would also back him up nicely, with three separate pitchers each pitching the final 3 innings of the game and allowing the Angels to score just 2 times overall.
Estuary Ruiz plays big game to help down Angels
Due to the lack of media attention in Oakland this season, one player who has flown under the radar for them has been outfielder Estuary Ruiz. He was a big contributor in the win over the Angels, as he used his power and speed on the basepaths to put Los Angeles pitchers on notice.
Ruiz went 3-5 at the plate, including a 2-run home run, and also stole his 54th base on the season. He stands behind only Ronald Acuna Jr. in the stolen base department for the second-highest total in all of baseball. After starting the game 0-2 at the plate, he finished with hits in his last 3 at-bats and got to the Angel bullpen multiple times.
Los Angeles will need to do a better job containing him for the next couple games if they want to give themselves an easier shot at rallying to win the series. Despite a recent wave of placing many impact players on waivers to conserve salary, the Angels still have a month left to play, and perhaps more importantly should do everything they can to convince Shohei Ohtani that Los Angeles is a place where he can resign on a long-term deal. They will be back again tomorrow for game 2 of the series.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PST.