The Angels knew going into this series that getting back into the playoff race is going to be an uphill battle and they need to take advantage of gaining games on division rivals like the Astros and Rangers in the meantime. Friday was not the best start as the Angels lost 11-3 and fell to under .500 yet again on the season. Now with a record of 58-59, the Angels are 7 games out of the 3rd WIld Card spot and over 11 games out of first place in the division. They have two more games against the Astros this weekend and could very well still win the series, but Friday was simply not a good start.
Here are my three takeaways from the game:
Detmers struggles yet again
Just last season, Reid Detmers graduated from being one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball to making an instant impact at the MLB level. Detmers threw a no hitter against the Rays in May of 2022 and proceeded to finish with a 3.77 era and 122 strikeouts over 129 innings pitched. However, Detmers had a few hiccups mid-season and was sent to the minor leagues to work with Minor League Pitching Coordinator Buddy Carlyle, who helped Detmers establish and refine his slider. That allowed him to finish the 2022 season strong and take some of that momentum into the 2023 season. It wasn’t that long ago that Detmers threw 7 shutout innings and overall out-dueled Clayton Kershaw against the Dodgers on June 21st. Detmers also had a 2.05 ERA in that month of June, throwing 30.2 innings and accumulating 36 strikeouts over 5 starts.
It is also no coincidence that the Angels were right in the mix for the 3rd AL Wild Card at that point as well, since Detmers’ success has directly correlated with the Angels success over the last few years. However, just like mid-season last year when he was struggling with control and pitch sequencing, Detmers would benefit from being sent back down to the minor leagues to work with Carlyle again. On Friday night Detmers gave up 7 earned runs for the second start in a row and his season ERA is now up to 5.27 in 107.2 innings pitched this season.
This time around, Detmers was only able to go 2.1 innings pitched before getting taken out of the game. He also gave up 2 home runs on almost identical pitches to Jon Singleton, who hadn’t hit a home run in the MLB since 2015 (his last home run in the bigs was against the Angels oddly enough). Overall, Detmers has given up 29 earned runs in total over his last six starts. Nonetheless, all hope is not lost as Detmers can still make an impact for this team if he can refine his slider in the minors again with Carlyle.
Cron hits first home run for Angels since 2017
It took a few weeks, but C.J. Cron launched a no-doubter home run against Justin Verlander in the top of the 2nd inning. That was Crons first home run in an Angels uniform since he was last with the team in 2017. A familiar face and fan favorite on the Angels for many years, Cron has established himself as one of the more consistent hitting first baseman in baseball over his career.
In fact, Cron has a career .260 batting average with an .800 OPS and this season his numbers are only slightly down with a .255 batting average and an OPS of .745. Nonetheless, even in the midst of a prolonged losing streak, Cron has been a bright spot for the Halos, consistently getting hits with RISP (something the ball club struggles with immensely) and playing good defense at first base.
Kenny Rosenberg pitches well out of the bullpen
Kenny Rosenberg is on the Angels roster for long relief appearances if one of the starters can’t get through 4-5 innings and that is exactly how he was used on Friday. Rosenberg came in already down 7-2 and ended up tossing 5 innings giving up 4 runs. Rosenberg pitched well against one of the best teams in baseball, and his 5 innings pitched saved the rest of the bullpen arms from coming in to a game that was already decided. This was Rosenberg’s first appearance of the year (he threw 10.2 innings last season for the Angels) and he pitched well enough for the Angels to consider him a solid long relief option out of the pen if needed.