ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Angels have fallen to a season worst 6 games under .500 and are effectively (not mathematically just yet) eliminated from playoff contention after getting swept by the Cincinnati Reds.
Things went from bad to worse for the Angels before they even took the field at Angel Stadium. Mike Trout did not feel right in his return to action on Tuesday night and sat out both games of Wednesday’s double-header because of soreness. Now he returns to the 15-day Injured List to focus more on his recovery and getting back to full strength. With the Angels all but eliminated from the playoffs, it will mark the 8th straight year without a postseason berth and perhaps the 8th consecutive season of finishing under .500.
Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s doubleheader:
Nolan Schanuel shows off incredible plate discipline
Nolan Shcanuel made history over the weekend for becoming the fastest drafted player to reach the Major Leagues since Jerry Don Gleaton in 1979, and many people questioned the Angels decision to bring him up so quickly. The team has had a track record of getting their first-round picks to the Bigs rapidly over the last few years with Zach Neto and Sam Bachman before Schanuel this season. All Schanuel did was hit and walk in the Minor Leagues with an OBP well over .500 in over 20 professional games played. That hasn’t changed at the big league level as Schanuel boasts an average of .368 with an OBP of .538already for the Angels in 6 games played. Schanuel had an impressive first game of the doubleheader after he pinch hit and was the DH after Shohei Ohtani left the game with arm fatigue. Schanuel drew 3 walks and registered a single in the 9-4 loss to the Reds, but in the second game he was arguably just as effective. After drawing a walk in his first at-bat, Schanuel broke the 0-0 tie in the bottom of the 2nd inning with his first career RBI, a single up the middle that drove in Mickey Moniak (who doubled a few at bats earlier).In Schanuel’s next at-bat in the bottom of the 5th inning, Schanuel hit another single up the middle for his second hit of the day. Overall Schanuel went 2-3 with 2 walks in the second game and reached base 8 times on the day overall. Schanuel also became the first Angel to start their career with a 6 game hit streak since David Eckstein in 2001.
Reid Detmers struggles following excellent performance last week
Following a performance against the Rangers last week where he took a no hitter into the 8th inning, Reid Detmers immediately reverted back to the pitcher he has been over the past two months giving up 3 runs and 5 hits alone in the 4th inning on Wednesday. After Nolan Schanuel put the Angels ahead 1-0 with an RBI single, but Detmers then gave up an RBI single to Spencer Steer in the 3rd inning before giving up 4 hits in a row in the 4th inning. If it wasn’t for TJ Hopkins trying to extend a single into a double and getting thrown out, it would have been at least 5-1 Reds going into the bottom of the 4th inning instead of 4-1 Reds. The bleeding started off with a TJ Freidl triple, followed by a Tyler Stephenson two run home run, before Hopkins single, a Will Benson single, a ground out from Noelvi Marte, then an RBI single by Matt McClain. Detmers got Elly De La Cruz to pop out after that, but the damage had already been done as the Angels had a 3-run deficit entering the bottom of the 4th inning.
In the 5th inning, Detmers was able to work a quick inning only hitting one batter before getting out of it without giving up a run. It begs the question: How can Detmers take a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the best lineup in the American League one start, then give up 4 straight hits in one inning against the Reds (who are actually another very good lineup, but not as good as the Rangers) his next start. Detmers finished with. After no-hitting the Rays in May of last season, Detmers appeared destined for greatness, only having a few blips in the 2022 season and finishing with an ERA of 3.77 in an impressive campaign. He just hasn’t looked like that guy for the most part this season, with a5.03 ERA and 50 walks in just 120 innings pitched this season. Detmers’ immense talent is obvious, indicative of his performance last week against the Rangers, but he needs to be more consistent to become the dominant pitcher Angels fans expected him to become.
Luis Rengifo gets on base 7 times in doubleheader
Luis Rengifo gets a bad reputation among Angels fans for how he started the year (just a .209 average in the months of April and June and a .197 average in the month off May) but he’s actually been one of the more consistently productive hitters in the Angels lineup recently. In the month of July Rengifo hit .315 with 23 hits and 6 home runs, and in August he’s hitting .268 (update after game) with 19 hits already. Despite his .241 average on the year overall, Rengifo actually has a higher OPS of .725 this season than his .723 OPS last season, where he hit .264 with 17 home runs. Despite only having 11 home runs this season and a lower average, Rengifo’s OPS this season is slightly higher because of his .327 OBP vs. last year’s abysmal .294 OBP. Rengifo is walking more as he’s become a more mature hitter that makes fewer mistakes at the plate. On Wednesday, Rengifo went 3-4 with an RBI in the first game and 1-2 with a 2-RBI single and three walks in the second game to reach base 7 total times in the double-header. Phil Nevin talked about Rengifo’s versatility after the game, “Rengifo is an exciting player, he’s done a fine job at short, and at multiple positions. He’s done great adjusting.” Sure, Rengifo will still make the occasional error at shortstop (his natural position is second base but he’s been playing shortstop for the injured Zach Neto), but with all of the injuries the Angels have this season, Rengifo has stepped up at the plate and made himself a valuable part of the team’s future.
The Angels will now travel to New York to play the Mets in a 3-game series that begins Friday. It is undecided who will be pitching for the Angels on Friday but first pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT.