The Los Angeles Angels will host the Houston Astros on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif., sending left-hander Reid Detmers to the mound for the second game of the season.
The Angels are going with a six-man rotation, in part to avoid overusing two-way player Shohei Ohtani over the course of a long season. Detmers was not named to the rotation until the final week of spring training, getting the nod over Jaime Barria, thanks to an impressive performance during camp.
The Astros defeated the Angels 3-1 in the season opener on Thursday, handing the loss to Ohtani, who gave up one run and struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings.
Detmers, the Angels’ No. 1 prospect, struck out 11 and walked none in 5 2/3 Cactus League innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He joins Patrick Sandoval and Jose Suarez as one of three lefties in the rotation.
The No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, Detmers, 22, went 3-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 14 starts last season split between Double-A Rocket City and Triple-A Salt Lake before a call-up late last season. With the Angels, he was 1-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five starts, and he has shown enough to Angels manager Joe Maddon to justify a rotation spot.
“He’s going to get so much better,” Maddon said. “There’s still a lot for him to learn and how to utilize what he has. There’s not many guys with a curveball like that and a curveball-slider combination.”
Angels general manager Perry Minasian said he believes Detmers is ready despite his age — 22 — and lack of experience.
“Reid has done a great job,” Minasian said. “He’s put himself in a great position. He understands the art of pitching. He doesn’t just throw. He knows how to pitch, and he has weapons he can get both sides out with. I think the experience of last year and not necessarily having success at the big-league level, I don’t know how used to that he is, so I think it was a real motivator for him this offseason.”
Detmers’ only major-league victory last season — his career first — came against Houston when he allowed one run and three hits in six innings of s 3-1 win on Aug. 15.
Houston will start veteran Jake Odorizzi, who is entering his 11th season. The Astros are Odorizzi’s fourth major-league team, but his first season in Houston last year was not one of his best.
He spent time on the injured list twice because of different injuries, and he expressed his displeasure late in the season when he was removed for precautionary reasons after making just 66 pitches in a game Sept. 7. In all, he was 6-7 with a 4.21 ERA in 24 games (23 starts).
Odorizzi was not on the club’s playoff roster in the American League Division Series against the Chicago White Sox, but he made one relief appearance in both the League Championship Series and World Series.
“We all know the story,” he said. “I think we’ve been through it plenty of times. My big thing was to take a couple of days after the season and flush it and move on from it, really recap in my head what things I wanted to focus on and take away the others and move forward. That’s the biggest thing in the game — good year, bad year — you learn from it and move forward. This year is a new year, and I feel like I’m in a good spot mentally, physically, everything.”
Odorizzi is 1-3 with a 5.00 ERA in eight career starts against the Angels.
–Field Level Media