Detmers strong in 7-K outing, but Halos struggle on basepaths

April 16th, 2023

BOSTON -- With the offense struggling to come through in key spots and the Angels making several costly mental mistakes, the margin for error has been razor thin for Los Angeles against the Red Sox this series.

Lefty Reid Detmers found out the hard way on Sunday, as he turned in his best outing of the young season, but it wasn’t enough in a 2-1 loss at Fenway Park. Detmers struck out seven over 6 1/3 strong innings, but allowed a two-run homer to Justin Turner in the third that proved to be the difference.

Detmers was staked to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Brandon Drury in the second, but it was all the offense could muster. And even that inning was marred by Drury getting caught stealing to end the frame with a runner at third base. The Angels went 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position, and their biggest miscue came in the eighth inning, when pinch-runner Brett Phillips was picked off at second base for the third out.

“Obviously, we’d like to come out with more wins,” Detmers said. “Things just aren't falling our way right now. It's going to turn around very quickly. Right now, we just have to focus on inning to inning, and better things will be in our favor.”

The Angels were threatening in the eighth with two runners on with two outs, but Phillips was picked off by reliever Kaleb Ort. Phillips beat the throw back, but second baseman Christian Arroyo used his foot to block Phillips' right hand from reaching the bag.

“That's unacceptable on my part, I’m sitting here taking full accountability,” Phillips said. “That's a big, big moment in the game. It's the first time in my career where I've slid back into a bag and I'm sliding into someone's foot there. I beat the throw. I looked at it several times. It's very strategic on Christian Arroyo’s part, and I'm going to have to re-evaluate some things on my end. It's not like I was caught off guard. Just moving forward, I'm going to have to go really, really hard into the bag with my cleats.”

In the second, Drury was given the signal to steal with two outs, but he was thrown out by catcher Connor Wong to end a rally with Logan O’Hoppe at the plate. But Luis Rengifo made a mental error on the play, as he should’ve attempted to run from third base to either prevent the throw to second or force one back to home.

“It was on me,” said manager Phil Nevin. “I saw something, but it didn’t work. The catcher made a heck of a throw there on a curveball down and away, exactly what I thought would happen. He just made a nice pick and threw him out.”

Detmers, 23, entered with a 5.59 ERA through his first two starts and hadn't gone deeper than five innings in either outing. But he looked much better against the Red Sox, as he scattered six hits and one walk while pitching into the seventh inning.

But his lone mistake proved costly, as he gave up a two-run blast to Turner in the third inning on a 0-1 fastball that was in and off the plate. But Turner brought his hands in and was able to pull it over the Green Monster.

“I felt good, but I felt good last week, too, honestly,” Detmers said. “Just one mistake, obviously, the home run. I left it in, but I thought he was cheating to it a little bit.”

Detmers, though, settled down after the homer, retiring the next eight batters he faced, including six by strikeout. He ran into some trouble in the sixth, however, after the first two runners reached to bring up Rafael Devers. But Detmers got Devers to ground out into a double play before getting Kiké Hernández to fly out to right to end the frame.

Detmers came back out for the seventh at 89 pitches and got Masataka Yoshida to ground out, but he was removed after giving up a single to Arroyo. Reliever Andrew Wantz came in and got out of the inning and threw 1 2/3 scoreless frames to keep the Angels in the game, only for the top of the lineup to go down in order in the ninth.

“It’s been tough,” said Angels superstar Mike Trout, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. “But we have a lot of baseball left. It’s early. It’s April 16. No panic.”