Detmers doesn't 'cave,' saves 'pen in loss

May 26th, 2022

ANAHEIM -- In his first home start since throwing a no-hitter against the Rays on May 10, Angels rookie lefty  didn't have his best stuff but still pitched into the seventh inning against the Rangers on Wednesday.

Detmers was hurt by two homers and allowed five runs but still matched his second longest start of his career by going six-plus innings in a 7-2 loss at Angel Stadium, the Angels splitting the two-game set with Texas. Detmers fell to 2-2 with a 4.65 ERA in eight starts this year, as the 22-year-old still has some things to work on even after his historic outing against Tampa Bay.

"I felt good, but they capitalized on a couple pitches," Detmers said. "I thought I threw the ball well. The pitch count was low. I battled out there and got through six innings. It was really just two bad pitches, and they got a hold of them."

Detmers, who was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 Draft and entered the season as the Angels' No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, showed some flashes of his potential against the Rangers and was mostly efficient, with 51 of his 73 pitches going for strikes. He also got 10 swings-and-misses, including five with his changeup, four with his fastball and one with his slider.

Angels manager Joe Maddon called the uneven start a learning experience for Detmers, who mostly pitched well outside of two homers on two poorly located pitches.

“He didn't throw the ball that badly,” Maddon said. “The home runs did hurt him tonight. We were behind, so I wanted to give him a chance to really stretch out and continue to build some confidence and learn how to pitch at the Major League level. I think we accomplished that with him.”

Detmers, though, missed his location twice during a three-run fourth inning, and it proved costly. He gave up a leadoff homer to Mitch Garver on an 0-1 fastball down the middle of the plate. Three batters later, he served up a two-run homer to Kole Calhoun on an 0-1 curveball that also caught the middle of the plate. Calhoun is 3-for-5 with two homers in his career against the young lefty, including one in Detmers’ last outing on May 10 in Texas that saw him allow three runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"Right now, Calhoun has my number,” Detmers said. “Other than that, it's just making pitches. I thought I did a little better job this week than last week. But I left one over the plate to Calhoun and that was pretty much it."

Reliever Kyle Barraclough started to warm up as Detmers began the fifth inning, but he settled down and produced some quick outs to remain in the game. He threw just nine pitches in the fifth and seven in the sixth, but was lifted after giving up a leadoff single to Calhoun in the seventh. Reliever Mike Mayers came in and allowed two runs in the inning, one charged to Detmers.

“I was really proud of the way Reid did not cave in,” Maddon said. “He stayed in there and pitched well.”

Maddon pointed out that Detmers has held batters to a low batting average this season despite his 4.65 ERA, and that he expects him to improve as the season goes along. Detmers has held opposing batters to a .181/.247/.382 slash line and has an impressive 0.91 WHIP, which ranks ninth in the Majors among all pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched. It also leads the Angels.

"There's kind of a disconnect there," Maddon said. "We have to look into it. He had a tough time tonight, but the underlying numbers aren't bad. We just need to keep working with him."

The other benefit to Detmers going six-plus innings despite struggling early on was that helped the bullpen ahead of the Angels’ four-game series against the Blue Jays. The Angels only had to use Mayers and right-hander Archie Bradley in his return from the injured list, giving the Angels a fresh bullpen heading into a pivotal series at Angel Stadium.

"We have a really tough team coming in for the next four days,” Maddon said. When you have a starting pitcher who can hold it together like that, it prevents you from using other bullpen guys and it really does help."