After delayed start, Davidson sees work paying off

September 22nd, 2022

ARLINGTON -- In the 10 days between Tucker Davidson’s last start against the Astros and Wednesday’s against the Rangers, he took some time to focus on his mechanics.

Lately, Davidson -- who was acquired by the Angels from the Braves at the Deadline -- has been starting on Sundays after Shohei Ohtani, but the club pushed his latest start back to improve his delivery and control.

Those changes were visible Wednesday, and even though the Angels fell to the Rangers, 7-2, at Globe Life Field, Davidson was happy to acknowledge his progress: his velocity was up and his walks were down -- to zero.

“I think the walks and the strike percentage kind of showed that,” Davidson said. “It’s one of those [things] I’m going to continue to build off of, but I think we’re making a lot of progress. I think the new delivery setup, whatever you want to call it, is going to be beneficial for me, and it just kind of simplifies things.”

Davidson went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out three and not walking a batter. While the 26-year-old left-hander took the loss on the mound, he found a win in the box score.

Entering Wednesday, Davidson had more walks (30) than strikeouts (27) this season through 10 games (nine starts), walking at least one batter -- and as many as five -- each outing. Walking none on Wednesday? That was one of those wins.

“That was the most encouraging thing,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He was around the strike zone, and just seeing him around the zone like that and not [allowing] hard contact is good.”

All five hits and three runs Davidson gave up came in the first three innings. He settled in after that, working his way through back-to-back 1-2-3 innings before Jaime Barría entered in relief to start the sixth with the Angels trailing 3-2. The Halos two runs came on Taylor Ward's two-run shot, his 19th of the season, in the first inning.

Barría pitched two innings and gave up one run before came in to make his Angels debut in the bottom of the eighth inning.

With the Halos only down by two runs and the core of their lineup due up in the ninth, there was certainly potential for a late-inning comeback. Instead, one defensive mishap was all it took for the Rangers to put the game out of reach, scoring three runs on one unfortunate play.

After the Rangers loaded the bases against Zastryzny to start the inning, replaced him, and he started off well by striking out Josh Jung. But with one out, Leody Taveras singled to left, bringing home two runs. The throw to the plate evaded catcher Matt Thaiss, and Weiss, backing up the play, attempted to throw behind Taveras at first base. But instead he threw the ball into right field, allowing another run to score.

It was the Angels’ second error of the game. The first came on a throwing error from in the second inning, which turned what could have been an out at the plate into a Rangers run.

“Where the game’s at, I understand if [there’s] more sense of urgency to stop the bleeding a little bit,” Nevin said. “Right there, [Weiss has] got to kind of take a step back. Same thing I told Soto … you don’t have to rush the ball. It’s just one of those games. We’ve been playing too well lately for it to bother us.”