Detmers settles in after shaky early innings

Angels' No. 2 prospect retires 11 of 13 batters after allowing Pujols homer

August 9th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- Angels top pitching prospect faced a stern test in his second career start Sunday against the Dodgers, and while he scuffled early, he was ultimately able to get through five innings.

Detmers, though, was charged with five runs on seven hits and two walks in an 8-2 loss in the Freeway Series finale at Dodger Stadium. But Detmers did show some promise, striking out five and navigating his way out of a few jams.

“He bounced back,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “ He was a little bit unlucky in the beginning. I liked the way he came back and he got through five innings on almost 100 pitches. I thought he got better game-in-progress. So give him credit, he battled through that."

Detmers, ranked as the club’s No. 2 prospect and the No. 55 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, gave up all five of his runs in the first two innings. But much like Jaime Barria on Saturday night, he settled down after starting out a bit shaky.

He said his nerves weren’t the issue this time, as he felt comfortable on the mound; he just made too many mistakes early.

"Last week, I was a little bit nervous and was trying to overthrow every pitch,” Detmers said. “This time, I was more calm and felt good. I executed most of my pitches. I just got unlucky a couple of times and need to execute a little bit better and things will work out in my favor."

The 22-year-old found himself down in a hurry, as he gave up a leadoff double to Trea Turner and an RBI single to Max Muncy in the first. AJ Pollock followed with a double to right on a fastball high and outside before Justin Turner hit a grounder to shortstop José Iglesias. Iglesias decided to throw home to try to get Muncy but wasn’t accurate enough, allowing a second run to score.

The Dodgers followed with a double steal to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. But Detmers hung in there, striking out Corey Seager and Chris Taylor before intentionally walking Will Smith to get to Cody Bellinger. Detmers struck out Bellinger on four pitches to escape the bases-loaded jam.

"Getting out of that first inning, only allowing two, I thought was outstanding,” Maddon said. “There's a lot to like there."

In the second, Detmers walked Trea Turner with one out, but was helped by a great defensive play in center field from Brandon Marsh to take away extra bases from Muncy. But he wasn’t as fortunate on a slow roller from Pollock that found its way under David Fletcher’s glove and into shallow left field with Turner scoring all the way from first on the play.

Detmers then gave up a two-run homer to former Angels first baseman Albert Pujols to give the Dodgers a five-run lead. It was the first homer by Pujols against the Angels since June 10, 2007, and it came on a 3-0 fastball.

“The biggest mistake was the 3-0 fastball to Albert,” Maddon said. “If he hadn’t done that, it might’ve turned out a bit differently.”

Detmers, who grew up roughly 90 miles north of St. Louis, said he was a fan of Pujols growing up and was excited to pitch to him, despite the result.

“It was definitely a cool moment getting to face him,” Detmers said. “Obviously, he got the better half of it. But it's definitely a moment I'll never forget. He was gonna swing 3-0. I just got caught up in the moment trying to sneak a fastball by him. He was sitting on it. I probably should've thrown something offspeed.”

Detmers bounced back and retired 11 of the next 13 batters he faced to get through five innings and help save the bullpen from extra work. Detmers threw 97 pitches and induced a solid 15 swings-and-misses, including seven with his slider and five with his curveball. It's clear his offspeed pitches will play in the Major Leagues but he just needs to work on his location going forward, as he left too many pitches up and over the middle of the plate.

“Obviously, you look up at the scoreboard and see five runs, it's never a good feeling,” Detmers said. “But I know in my head that I felt good. Every pitch felt good coming out. I just need to execute a little bit more."