LOS ANGELES — The Angels can’t catch a break. In the first game of the 3-game series against the Padres earlier this week, Mike Trout fractured his hamate bone (which will keep him out at least until mid August), adding to the list of grueling injuries Angels players have sustained over the course of this season. Rookie shortstop Zach Neto (had an OPS of .769) sustained an Oblique Strain on June 14th, third baseman Gio Urshela (was hitting close to .300) fractured his Pelvis just a day later, and Brandon Drury (was hitting .277 with an OPS of .822) hurt his shoulder on June 29th. Right there, three of the the Halos best hitters are hurt and have been for a while now, especially Neto and Urshela.
On the pitching side, Matt Moore (the team’s ultra efficient set-up man) has been injured since May 23rd and fireballer Ben Joyce has been hurt since June 9th. On Saturday night, yet another injury occurred as Angels outfielder Jo Adell left the game with an Oblique injury that is yet to be determined. The Angels then had to put Luis Rengifo in left field (who doesn’t usually play there) who made a couple of mistakes that led to a few of the Dodgers runs. Nonetheless, the Halos are in an awful position entering the All-Star break as they’ve lost 9 out of their last 10 games.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Detmers’ month long run comes to an end
Reid Detmers was one of the best pitchers in the American League over the last month with four straight quality starts with 8+ strikeouts before Saturday night’s collapse against the Dodgers, where he gave up 7 earned runs in 3.1 innings pitched with just 4 strikeouts. It started with a fastball Detmers threw right down the middle to Mookie Betts on the second pitch of thew inning at 94 MPH that went 408 feet to left-center field. The following inning, Detmers gave up another home run, this time to Max Muncy on a 91 MPH slider that stayed in the middle of the plate.
With the Angels already down 2-0, the damage was far from finished as Detmers hit Miguel Vargas, gave up an infield single to James Outman, before giving up a 2-RBI double to Freddie Freeman (that should have been caught by Rengifo in left field as it dropped out of his glove) and a 2-RBI single to Will Smith as the Angels face a 6 run deficit in just the second inning. Apparently it doesn’t matter which Angels pitcher starts on the mound right now as all six (because Tyler Anderson relieved Griffin Canning in Friday night’s game) of the team’s starters are struggling tremendously.
Shohei Ohtani continues to dazzle
Despite an 0-11 stretch in the Padres series earlier this week, Shohei Ohtani bounced back in a huge way on Saturday night falling a just a double shy of the cycle. He launched his MLB-leading 32nd home run of the season and his MLB leading 6th triple of the season as well, but it just wasn’t enough following the early 6 run deficit. The Angels may not be having an ideal season, but Ohtani is the undisputed best hitter in the MLB this season with 32 home runs, 71 RBI’s, an average of .302, and an OPS of 1.050. Ohtani will hit in the All-Star game, but likely won’t pitch in the Midsummer Classic.
Mookie Betts is playing his best ball in a Dodgers uniform
What else can be said of what Mookie Betts has accomplished this season? He leads the MLB in leadoff home runs with 10 and has already broken the Dodgers single-season record for leadoff home runs in a season. Betts also boasts the highest home run total of his career at the All-Star break (26, which also is tied for 3rd in all of baseball) and has an OPS of .965, which is by far his best mark in a Dodgers uniform and is only second to his 2018 MVP year OPS total of 1.078. Despite struggling on the mound as a whole this year (Dodgers team ERA is 4.50, ranked 23rd in the MLB), the Dodgers enter the All-Star break just 0.5 games back of the Diamondbacks.
The Angels enter the All-Star break one game under .500 at 45-46 as they have lost 5 games in a row and 9 out of their last 10. Possibly the team that needs the break the most (for all their injured players that are close to returning to recover) perhaps the Halos will come out of the break with a sense of urgency and passion. The Angels next scheduled game is against the Houston Astros on Friday July 14th at Angel Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:38 PST.