The LA Angels entered the season with one Ace, Shohei Ohtani, but it appears they may have found another in Patrick Sandoval. Sandoval had a very good year last year, but it wasn't quite Ace-level, and he got hurt.
Sure, his 3.62 ERA and 122 ERA+ were impressive, but it wasn't necessarily jumping off the page at anyone and he only played in 17 games. Angels fans knew he'd be good, but making the jump to be an Ace would be a massive leap. On Sunday, he may have signaled that he is most certainly ready to make that leap.
He threw 6.1 IP and gave up just one run. Sure, it's just one start, but this has turned into a pattern on the year. Sandoval now has a 1.91 ERA through six starts and a 198(!) ERA+. His 2.76 FIP is also great, and these numbers go to show that Sandoval is in the process of unlocking a new level of his game.
Patrick Sandoval will give the LA Angels a second Ace if he keeps performing at this level.
Patrick Sandoval leads the LA Angels' starting rotation in the following categories:
--Winning percentage (Tied with Michael Lorenzen and Reid Detmers at 66.7%)
--HR/9 (Yet to allow a home run)
Sure, it would be nice if Sandoval struck out more batters, as he's only struck out 8.5 batters per nine frames this year. The fact that he's not allowing runs, however, is of course more important. When also taking a look at how he's keeping the ball in the ballpark, this strong start appears sustainable.
Other than Taylor Ward, the Halos have Gold Glove caliber players at every position in the field. If Sandoval can continue to keep the ball in the yard, things will take care of themselves. This Angels defense is so good that runners are going to have a tough time getting on as long as the pitchers give the defense a chance.
All Sandoval has to do is stick to what's been working this season and he's going to take that leap. Remember that he was coming off of an injury heading into this season, and dealing with an MLB lockout that prevented him from working with the team to recover from the injury.
To be able to overcome all that adversity and produce the way he has early shows that it's going to take quite a bit to be able to slow down a true gamer in Sandoval.