In the grand scheme of things, Thursday night’s loss to the Houston Astros may not mean a whole lot to the Los Angeles Angels. However, entering Thursday’s game the Astros were just 3 games ahead of the Angels and the Halos missed a golden opportunity to gain ground in the standings. Everything was lining up perfectly in the Angels favor earlier in the day as Astros ace Framber Valdez was scratched as the starting pitcher, which meant Rookie Ronel Blanco would be making his MLB debut. One would think the Angels would have capitalized at this opportunity since both Valdez and Christian Javier, two of the best pitchers in baseball, are set to pitch against them on Friday and Saturday. However, the same inconsistent Angels that we have seen all season showed up and simply didn’t perform in game 1 of their most important series of the year thus far.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
What happened to Reid Detmers?
Coveted young southpaw Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter against the Rays in May of last year and put together an impressive season finishing with a 3.77 ERA and a 122-46 K/BB ratio in 129 innings pitched. Detmers was supposed to step up this year and take another leap, considering he was one of the most touted pitching prospects in baseball just a few years back, but he has gotten much worse.
This season Detmers owns an ERA of 5.15, a K/BB ratio of 60-21, and has already given up 57 hits in just 50.2 innings pitched. One of Detmers biggest problems so far this season is his inability to get through the 5th inning as he has struggled getting past the third time through the opposing teams lineup immensely, indicative of him only going 6+ innings pitched just once thus far this year. For the Angels to be a serious playoff contender, they need their talented young southpaw to find some of his magic from last year at the very least.
Angels have trouble yet again with RISP
The Angels lost 5-2 but had 10 hits and left an alarming 13 men on base. The Angels were 2-12 with runners in scoring position today, and are hitting under .200 with runners in scoring position since May 6th, one of the worst marks in the MLB. Angels superstar Mike Trout is hitting just .200 with runners in scoring position this season, by far the lowest number in his career, and as talented as this lineup may be, they simply aren’t executing when it matters. Most of the Angels losses this year are from self-inflicted wounds and not capitalizing with runners in scoring position.
Ben Joyce has another stellar performance
Coming into the game in the 7th inning down two runs, Ben Joyce looked dominant and untouchable yet again in just his second career MLB appearance. Joyce struck out two batters in 1 inning of work, including MVP candidate Yordan Alverez on 3 101+ MPH fastballs in a row. Joyce also struck out former league MVP Jose Altuve on 3 101+ MPH fastballs in a row as well. Overall, Joyce did not throw an off-speed pitch and stuck with simply the fastball in this one, throwing it on all 10 pitches. Safe to say it worked.
Shohei Ohtani will be going against Framber Valdez on the mound tomorrow as the Angels take on the Astros in the 2nd game of this 4 game series. First pitch is set for 5:10 PST.