O'Hoppe, Detmers 'laying the foundation' for '24 and beyond

September 12th, 2023

SEATTLE -- With the Angels out of postseason contention, much of what they do the rest of the season is with an eye toward 2024.

So it was an encouraging sign to see left-hander and catcher  shine in an 8-5 win over the Mariners in 11 innings on Monday night at T-Mobile Park. Detmers threw seven strong innings, while O'Hoppe went 3-for-5 with two homers and a double.

“I think we’re laying the foundation down for the future now,” O’Hoppe said. “We’re taking it day by day and trying to win each game, but it’s definitely fun to be a part of.”

O'Hoppe and Detmers will both be counted on as key contributors next year, as Detmers, 24, has endured an up-and-down season in his second full year in the Majors, while rookie O’Hoppe, 23, has been heating up at the plate after missing four months with a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

Detmers built on his strong outing against the Orioles last Tuesday, as he pitched into the seventh inning for a second consecutive start and shook off a shaky opening frame to allow three runs on five hits. And O'Hoppe backed him at the plate, collecting the first multihomer game of his young career with a two-run blast in the second and a solo shot in the fourth.

Detmers is looking to finish the season strong after hitting a rough patch that saw him allow seven runs in back-to-back outings in early August. His command was much better against Seattle, as he didn't walk a batter for the first time in 26 starts this season and struck out seven.

He’s been pitching with a blister that has caused him to throw his changeup more often than his slider, but it’s become an effective pitch for him over his past two outings.

“Once I got through the first, I felt like my stuff was good. I just had to keep my stuff down in the zone and that’s pretty much what I did the rest of the game,” said Detmers, who has posted a 4.77 ERA in 137 2/3 innings. “I kinda knew their game plan was looking for heaters in and the slider, so throwing them the changeup and working the fastball away helped a lot.”

But it appeared like he was heading toward a rough start after he gave up a pair of singles to open his outing and Teoscar Hernández followed with a deep drive to right field. Jordyn Adams made a nice play at the fence to hold it to a sacrifice fly, but Detmers promptly gave up a two-run homer to Cal Raleigh on a 1-2 slider over the heart of the plate to put the Angels in an early hole.

Detmers, though, settled down from there, retiring 11 in a row and 19 of the final 22 batters he faced to get through seven innings for the fourth time this season and the first time since Aug. 16.

“Gritty,” manager Phil Nevin said. “He's still got a little thing on his finger that affects his slider. And to me, this is actually helping in his development because you saw how many changeups he threw today, and some really good ones. And that’s how you pitch deep into a game and go three times through an order.”

O'Hoppe helped guide Detmers through his outing and got the Angels on the board with a two-run homer in the second on a first-pitch fastball from right-hander Logan Gilbert. He tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth on a 2-2 splitter from Gilbert left in the middle of the zone. It was O'Hoppe's fourth homer over his past four games and his 10th of the season.

"I'm feeling better," O'Hoppe said. "It's clicking, and I feel back to where I was before. I've just been shortening things up and staying connected in the right places. And just make sure my head is clear.”

O'Hoppe also doubled in the ninth and is hitting .314 with five homers, two doubles and eight RBIs in 10 games in September to shake off a slow start when he initially returned from the injured list in mid-August.

“When he came back, we made sure his legs were ready to catch because the valuable experience for him is getting behind the plate with our pitchers,’’ Nevin said. “We knew the offense was almost there and was going to come. He’s such a pro. We knew he was going to make adjustments, and obviously he’s swinging it well right now.”