Reid Detmers will be on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif., when they face the Minnesota Twins — another game in the club’s efforts to develop Detmers into a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.
Detmers, a left-hander, started five games in his first season last year, but he began this season in the starting rotation. He threw a no-hitter on May 10 against the Tampa Bay Rays, but after going winless in the six starts that followed, he was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake to make adjustments.
The biggest change was altering his arm angle when throwing his slider, creating more velocity with the pitch. Since returning to the big league club on July 8, he’s been the type of pitcher the Angels hoped they were getting when they selected him in the first round (10th overall pick) in the 2020 draft.
In five starts since his return, he’s been outstanding, going 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA (31 innings pitched, four earned runs) with 38 strikeouts. He is 4-3 overall this season, with a 3.44 ERA.
In his most recent start last Saturday, the Seattle Mariners had two runners on with two outs in the seventh inning with Sam Haggerty due up and Detmers at 100 pitches.
In many cases, that would spell the end of the day for the starting pitcher, but Angels interim manager Phil Nevin stuck with Detmers, who struck out Haggerty on a full-count slider to end the inning.
“That was huge,” Detmers said. “I wanted to finish the seventh. I didn’t know if the pitch count was going to let me. But I got out of it and got some swings and misses, so it felt good.”
Nevin acknowledged that the decision to keep Detmers in the game at that point was more a nod to the future than winning the game at hand.
“To me it was a learning moment for him,” Nevin said. “I want him to learn to pitch out of those jams. We consider him someone who can pitch at the front end of a rotation, and those kind of pitchers do that.
“They reach back when their pitch count is up and get big outs. We saw it in his no-hitter, and we’re seeing it more and more each time out. We feel like he’s improving each time.”
Detmers, 23, has never faced the Twins.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy (6-5, 5.01), who pitched for the Angels in 2020-21, will make his 20th start of the season for Minnesota and will try to follow Tyler Mahle’s six scoreless innings in Friday’s 4-0 win with a solid performance of his own.
Bundy, though, is winless in his past three starts and hasn’t lasted more than five innings in any of them.
He has been hit-or-miss in his starts this season, 10 times giving up two earned runs or less, but four times giving up five earned runs or more.
“Commanding the ball and getting some of the pitches I need to get down in the zone, getting them down, especially with two strikes — that’s kind of been a weakness,” Bundy, 29, said.
Bundy is 1-2 with a 7.15 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Angels, all while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.