'Everything came together' in Detmers' near no-no bid

Lefty finishes five outs shy of second career gem, yielding a one-out double in eighth

August 17th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- Angels starter nearly immortalized himself in baseball history on Wednesday night, as the southpaw was five outs shy from becoming the seventh Major League pitcher to toss a no-hitter in back-to-back seasons.

The former first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft was virtually untouchable in the Halos’ 2-0 victory over the Rangers in the series finale at Globe Life Field, as the 24-year old starter cruised through seven 7 1/3 no-hit innings before Marcus Semien’s double spoiled the bid.

“I thought he was very efficient with his pitches,” manager Phil Nevin said. “The velocity wasn’t what it’s been, but I think the control stood out. He turned into a pitcher tonight.

“You could make the argument that [the Rangers] have the best offense in baseball top-to-bottom. It’s hard to navigate that lineup but, like I said, [Detmers] became a pitcher tonight. He understood how to get guys out. It was a heck of a performance.”

Oddly enough, Detmers, who took the loss in a previous outing against the Astros on Friday, was not initially scheduled to start the finale. But his turn in the rotation was moved up when the Angels were forced to burn through the bullpen in Monday’s 12-0 loss to the Rangers in the series opener.

“He made some adjustments in-between starts,” Nevin said. “I talked to [pitching coach Matt Wise] and he said he threw one heck of a bullpen [session], and made a little adjustment on the rubber.

“I’m just really proud of him. He’s gone through a lot, but he’s a young kid and he’s going to be a big part of our future.”

Detmers, who earned his third victory of the season, appeared to have it going from the onset, as he retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The lefty was relentless in attacking the Rangers’ lineup.

Nearly 60 percent of his 108 pitches were strikes (64), as Detmers routinely pounded the strike zone.

“I wasn’t really trying to go for strikeouts or anything,” Detmers said. “I just wanted to go deep into the game. That was my whole mindset. I focused on my sequencing and keeping them off-balance.

“Strikeouts are nice, but at the same time, I was just trying to go deep.”

Detmers' efficient, innings-eating outing came at the perfect time for the Angels, who have seen their pitchers struggle in August. The one-hit performance also provided a ton of relief for Detmers, who yielded 14 runs across his previous two starts.

“Obviously, the last couple weeks have been a grind,” Detmers said. “It’s been very stressful, but I kind of just put my head down and kept working. And, after going out there and accomplishing what I did, I can take a breath now.

“This is something that I have worked for the last couple weeks and everything pretty much came together. So, it feels good.”

The Halos’ offense was fueled by home runs from Shohei Ohtani and Matt Thaiss.

Ohtani opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, when the American League MVP frontrunner mashed his AL-leading 42nd homer of the season, a Statcast-projected 437 feet.

The three-time All-Star capped it with a helmetless trot around the diamond. Ohtani now trails Braves slugger Matt Olson (43) by one for the Major League lead and is just four homers shy of matching his career high (46 in his MVP season of 2021).

“That one pitch to Ohtani, I thought I got it where I wanted, but he's a different kind of player,” said Rangers starter Jon Gray, who kept the Angels at bay following the homer in his seven innings of work.

Thaiss provided the Halos with some insurance in the ninth, as the catcher hammered a 2-2 fastball a Statcast-projected 450 feet to right-center field.

With a two-run cushion, Carlos Estévez worked the ninth for his 26th save of the season, which marked a new career high for the 30-year-old reliever.