ANAHEIM -- Reid Detmers’ path to the Major Leagues was relatively short. His time wearing an Angels uniform has been even shorter.
Making the third start of his career on Sunday, the 22-year-old Detmers faced another stacked lineup in the Astros. He went up against the Athletics in his debut for 4 1/3 innings, then seven days later pitched five innings against the Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions.
But against the Astros, he went a full six innings to earn his first career win as the Angels beat the Astros, 3-1 at Angel Stadium, with one earned run, six strikeouts and two walks. Detmers held Houston to three hits, while inducing four groundouts and three flyouts on 87 pitches (54 strikes).
"They're good lineups. They're who they are for a reason,” Detmers said of the teams he has faced. “They're good-hitting teams and they score a lot of runs. At times it's been difficult, but I mean if I hit my spots and keep them off-balance, things are going to go my way.”
It hasn’t been the softest landing to start a career, as manager Joe Maddon put it during his pregame scrum, but it’s an emergence that he’s been impressed by. Though he gave up 11 earned runs against the A’s and Dodgers, the southpaw hasn’t backed away from the challenge.
“I like that, because I've been involved in situations where groups, teams, front offices try to avoid that. They try to provide a softer landing area, [but] I like it,” Maddon said. “I think it's great. He had to pitch in Dodger Stadium for an afternoon game. He's pitching here today against a very good team after we lost two games.”
Detmers held Houston’s top four hitters to two hits in 12 at-bats, while striking out Michael Brantley, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez. Brantley homered off Detmers in the third when a 2-0 slider stayed over the middle of the plate, but it was the only run Houston managed to put on the board.
“Early on I was pulling off really hard, and I just wasn't able to finish a couple of my pitches,” Detmers said. “Later on in the game, I was getting a little bit more extension, so I was able to finish those pitches off and getting those quick easy outs and getting some swings and misses.”
Detmers recorded seven whiffs and 19 called strikes with his five-pitch arsenal, good for a 28 percent called strikes plus whiffs mark. His calm demeanor on the mound and ability to land his pitches effectively in the strike zone kept him in line for the victory.
“Makeup-wise, he was always in control of his emotions," said Maddon. "That's a great day for him. Really good lineup, a lot of good righties, some really good lefties, too, and he fought his way through and finished strong.”
The Angels played out of a deficit with Brantley’s solo shot, but they were able to fend off the series sweep as the offense strung together enough contact. David Fletcher tied the game at 1 in the bottom of the fifth inning when he grounded out to shortstop, giving Jack Mayfield enough time to score from third.
Although his career is just getting started, Detmer showed the turnaround he can have in between starts and in game. He cruised through the first inning with eight pitches (seven strikes), but was put to the test when he faced nine batters in the next two frames. He finished off the second half of his outing unscathed, flashing the potential that earned him the rank of Angels No. 2 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 54 overall prospect.
The Angels end their homestand (3-4) with their 59th win of the season and are now one game below .500 as they embark on a 10-game, four-city road trip beginning Monday in New York.