Detmers' strong finish gives him plenty to build off

September 27th, 2023

ANAHEIM -- After allowing seven runs in back-to-back starts to the Mariners and Astros in early August, left-hander had hit his low point of the season and had a 5.27 ERA through his first 21 outings.

But Detmers was able to right the ship the rest of the way. He finished his season on a high note with a strong showing in a 9-3 win over the first-place Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. Detmers went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts to improve to 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 28 starts this season.

Detmers posted a 2.41 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 41 innings over his final seven outings and ended his year with a career-high 168 strikeouts in 148 2/3 innings.

“It’s nice,” Detmers said. “Obviously, the season didn't really go as planned. There's been lots of ups and downs. And not just speaking for myself but for the whole team. It’s been disappointing.

“For myself, I struggled at times, but I've proven I can bounce back. To end the season on that kind of note against a really good ballclub is always nice.”

Despite his youth, the Angels had high expectations for Detmers coming into the season. He had shown plenty of promise as a rookie in 2022, including throwing a no-hitter against the Rays and recording a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts. But the 24-year-old had a roller coaster of a 2023 season and battled inconsistency until finally finding his footing over the last month.

He did it by mixing in his pitches more effectively -- he became too reliant on his slider at times this season. He also dealt with a blister that forced him to use his fastball and changeup more often, and it worked to great effect.

Of Detmers' 100 pitches against the Rangers, he threw 46 fastballs, 22 curveballs, 16 changeups and 16 sliders. He came into his outing having thrown his slider 31.5% of the time this season.

“It was a good way to end with a nice little stretch, and it coincides with him finding that changeup command,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “And being able to use all four of his pitches. It’s something he can really build off of heading into the winter and Spring Training.”

The Angels still view Detmers as a big part of their future. Detmers was the No. 10 overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft and remains under team contractual control through 2027.

Detmers also continued his success against the Rangers this season. He went 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in four starts against them with 27 strikeouts over 24 1/3 innings. He started his recent strong stretch by flirting with a no-hitter in Texas on Aug. 16 and allowed one hit over 7 1/3 scoreless frames in that outing.

“It tells you how good he can be,” Nevin said, “because that’s a really good lineup and they have been swinging the bat well. And they really hit left-handers well. So that’s how I look at that.”

Detmers scuffled early Tuesday, allowing a leadoff double to Marcus Semien before Corey Seager reached on an infield single. But the only run he allowed came on a double-play grounder hit by Robbie Grossman.

Detmers settled down from there and got plenty of run support, including a three-run home run from Brandon Drury in the first inning and a five-run fifth. 

Detmers was able to get through seven innings for the fifth time this season, and going deeper into games is a priority for him next year. He averaged roughly 5 1/3 innings per start this season but led the team in innings because he was the club’s only starting pitcher to make it through the year without being placed on the injured list.

Detmers took pride in staying healthy this year and in his ability to make adjustments down the stretch. Now he’s looking to put it all together next year.

“I felt like I learned a lot this year,” Detmers said. “I bounced back from struggles and learned a lot on the way. Coming into the season, I felt like I was in a good spot. And then, obviously, things went a little south. But I was able to turn around. And that means a lot.”