View Original Notice ? Angels rookie Reid Detmers throws a no-hitter in victory over Rays
ANAHEIM ? The Angels’ clubhouse was quiet as the players filed out Tuesday night. The televisions were off, the once-boisterous speaker system silent. In one corner, a group of reporters huddled around third baseman Anthony Rendon. Luis Rengifo sat at his locker. Reid Detmers gazed briefly into the tall mirror leading to the showers, tousled his short blonde hair, and waved at Rengifo before leaving for the night. The best night of his baseball career was over.
Detmers threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Angels’ 12-0 victory at Angel Stadium. It was the 12th no-hitter in franchise history. The remnant of the announced crowd of 39,313 stood for the entire ninth inning: a foul pop-out by Vidal Brujan, a routine grounder to Rengifo off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier, and an equally unremarkable grounder Yandy Diaz hit to the shortstop, Andrew Velazquez.
“I wanted him to hit it to me,” Velazquez said. “That felt like a playoff game. He threw the first strike in that inning and the crowd erupted. That’s sick. That was the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of.”
Detmers, 22, was the Angels’ first-round draft pick in 2020, a year in which he barely pitched because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, he earned a rapid promotion to the major leagues, but only flashed pieces of his potential. His 2022 season picked up in similar fashion: five starts, one victory and a 5.32 ERA that stood out on a stalwart pitching staff. He had not completed eight innings in a game since 2018 – his sophomore year of college at Louisville.
In one night, Detmers re-wrote the story of his career.
“It was something I’d dreamed of as a little kid,” he said. “I didn’t think it would happen. I probably won’t even remember this tomorrow morning.”
Detmers allowed two baserunners, on a walk and an error, and faced only one batter over the minimum. Mike Trout hit two home runs, catcher Chad Wallach hit another, and Anthony Rendon – a right-handed hitter batting left-handed in the eighth inning – hit another home run. By then, outfielder Brett Phillips was pitching for the Rays and the game was hardly in doubt.
There was no question Manager Joe Maddon would allow Detmers to try to finish the task. No pitcher warmed up in the Angels’ bullpen at any point in the game. Detmers, who had thrown as many as 119 pitches in college, threw his arms in the air after retiring Diaz with his 108th pitch of the night.
“What he did tonight, it’s really a tribute to him and obviously good coaching,” Maddon said. “(Matt Wise) and Dominic (Chiti) have been on him to do a couple different things. It was there tonight. Much better pitching inside. The residue of that was a better changeup with better arm speed … inside to the right-hander especially. Landing his curveball. He just had a much better mound presence tonight. He looked and felt the part tonight.
“Bully for him. That’s potentially a life-altering event as a young man, as a major league player.”
The Angels built a commanding lead early against veteran right-hander Corey Kluber. They scored twice in the first inning. They scored twice in the second inning, highlighted by Trout’s first home run. Wallach’s home run cleared the fence in left-center field in the third inning, and the Angels extended the lead to 8-0.
Meanwhile, Detmers was efficient as he was effective in his 11th career start. Of his 108 pitches, 68 were strikes. His fastball touched 94 mph. His changeup, curveball and slider served him early and late in the counts. Detmers threw 24 changeups in all; his previous career high was nine. He finished with two strikeouts.
The left-hander only ran up a 3-and-0 count twice. He issued his only walk in the sixth inning, to Taylor Walls, on a letter-high curveball that missed around the letters. Wallach promptly visited the mound.
“I just wanted to go out and give him a breather, rest, and get back to attacking guys,” Wallach said, “and he did a great job.”
For Wallach, a veteran of 522 minor league games and 80 in the majors, Tuesday marked his fourth day on the major-league roster. He was only called up when veteran Kurt Suzuki was placed on the COVID-19 injured list and was thrust into the starting lineup when starter Max Stassi joined Suzuki on the IL.
The son of former Angel Tim Wallach said he had never caught a no-hitter in his life.
“It was incredible getting to work with (Detmers) and watching him pitch tonight,” Wallach said.
After the walk to Walls, Kevin Kiermaier grounded into a double play to end the sixth inning. Jared Walsh fielded the sharp grounder, stepped on first base, then deftly threw to Velazquez covering second base for the tag. It was one of the better defensive plays on a night when most balls in play were hit slowly, or directly at an Angels fielder.
The reality of the impending no-hitter snaked its way through the Angels’ collective consciousness. Velazquez said he was aware throughout the game. It didn’t dawn on Walsh until he ducked into the clubhouse to put away his sunglasses in the sixth inning. There, he heard a snippet of the game broadcast on a television.
“The announcer’s like, ‘I wouldn’t be sitting next to Detmers either,’” Walsh recalled. “I was like, oh my God, he’s got a no-hitter.”
In the seventh inning, media relations director Adam Chodzko began a text thread with the various stakeholders – marketers, broadcasters, social media staffers, authenticators, photographers – about how to handle the conclusion of the game if Detmers finished the task.
Coincidentally, the seventh inning brought the only semblance of drama, when Walsh committed the game’s only error on a ground ball to his right. Detmers beat the batter, Phillips, to first base, but Walsh could not come up with the ball cleanly and could not get off a throw to the pitcher.
When the play was announced as an error, the crowd let out a cheer of relief.
So did Walsh.
“That’s an error, no question about it,” he said. “Error. Error. Brett was consoling me over at first base.”
Isolated at the farthest end of the third-base dugout for the latter stages of the game, Detmers kept his cool between innings. The only nervous moment, he said, was when he got to a two-strike count on Diaz in the ninth inning. After the final out was recorded, he embraced Wallach in front of the pitcher’s mound as his teammates raced to join the celebration.
Detmers was an unlikely hero. The Angels used the offseason to bolster their pitching staff, spending $21 million on former All-Star Noah Syndergaard and nearly $7 million on Michael Lorenzen. Ohtani, when he is not serving as the team’s designated hitter (and sometimes when he is), holds down the No. 3 spot. Steady left-hander Patrick Sandoval is similarly entrenched.
Detmers had to win his spot in the rotation out of spring training, then hang on through the ups and downs of April. As he exited the clubhouse Tuesday with the cool of a veteran, Detmers didn’t look like he was going anywhere.
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) May 11, 2022
— Bally Sports West (@BallySportWest) May 11, 2022