Former high school rivals Patrick Sandoval of the Los Angeles Angels and Kolby Allard of the Texas Rangers will match up for the first time as major leaguers when they take the mound on Saturday evening in Arlington, Texas.
Sandoval graduated from Mission Viejo High School in 2015, the same yearAllard graduated from San Clemente High School. Both left-handers played in the six-team South Coast League in South Orange County, Calif.
Allard, the 14th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2015, hopes to continue taking advantage of the opportunity that opened up in the rotation when two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber was shut down with a tear in his throwing shoulder.
Allard (0-0, 2.25 ERA) did well in his first audition in Kluber's spot, allowing one run and two hits over four innings in San Francisco on Sunday, earning another chance to take the ball on Saturday.
"It's not fair to ask anybody to be Corey Kluber, but could (Allard) give you the kind of performance for 2 1/2 months that Corey would," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think he can."
Sandoval (0-0, 2.25) had longer odds to reach the majors. He was drafted in the 11th round out of high school by the Astros and was traded to Anaheim in 2018 before making his major league debut last August.
Sandoval also went four innings in his lone outing this season, allowing two runs and four hits, striking out four and walking one in a 10-2 win on July 28 against the visiting Seattle Mariners.
He made two starts against the Rangers last season. He struggled in the first appearance in Arlington (four runs, eight hits over 3 1/3 innings), but shut them out on one hit over five innings in a 3-0 loss in Anaheim on Aug. 28. He did not receive a decision in either game.
"He's going to get plenty of wins," Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Sandoval. "He's going to get stretched out, stay healthy, and have a long career ahead of him. He's really good."
The Angels hope to play better behind Sandoval than they did Friday night in the series opener, committing three errors and allowing three unearned runs in the 4-3 loss.
The Angels are also searching for offense, especially behind leadoff hitter David Fletcher and No. 2 batter Mike Trout.
Justin Upton (.109) and Albert Pujols (.154) have already been dropped in the order, and Shohei Ohtani (.147) and Anthony Rendon (.121) also continue to struggle in the meat of the order.
The Rangers have some players who are overdue, as well.
Five players in the starting lineup on Friday were hitting below .200 by the end of the game, including veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus (.178), one of the team's best hitters last season who went 0-for-4 in the series opener and left runners in scoring position his first two times up.
The hottest hitter for the Rangers has been catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who went 2-for-4 Friday and is 9-for-18 during a five-game hitting streak with four runs scored.
--Field Level Media