Dodgers series provides ‘measuring stick’ for young Angels pitchers – Orange County Register
LOS ANGELES The Angels’ three-game series against the Dodgers offered an indicator of the progress of their young players. Crowds of over 50,000 on Friday and Saturday, regional rivalry and a chance to play defending World Series champions don’t show up often, let alone the same weekend.
Manager Joe Maddon said the ‘measuring stick’ analogy was appropriate, but meant more to him in one regard than the others.
“The real measuring stick for me is our pitchers versus their hitters,” he said. “This is what I’m really interested in seeing.”
To this end, the Angels took two steps forward and one step back.
Southpaw Patrick Sandoval limited the Dodgers to two runs in five innings on Friday. On Saturday, starter Jaime Barría took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning before giving Cody Bellinger an equalizer home run on his final pitch.
In his second career start on Sunday, Reid Detmers persisted for five innings. Much like in his early days, Detmers couldn’t avoid the big round, allowing two runs in the first and three in the third – including a pair of runs on a two-run homerun from his childhood idol, Albert Pujols.
“I remember watching him almost every game,” Detmers said of Pujols. “I would turn it on with my dad and sit in front of the TV until Pujols approached the bat and I was locked up. It was a really cool moment to face him. Obviously he got the better of me. It is definitely a moment that I will never forget.
Nostalgia to see Pujols in the batter’s box aside, Detmers has shown improvement in controlling his curveball and slider since his debut. Those throws represented 12 of his 15 swings and misses.
Seven different pitchers have started the Angels’ last seven games. Five – Detmers, Sandoval, Barría, Jose Suarez and Chris Rodriguez – are 25 or younger. Ready or not, it’s now.
“We will only get really good if we pitch. That’s it, ”Maddon said. “We will always be able to defend ourselves on the pitch, catch the ball on the pitch and provide an adequate or more than adequate attack. But if we don’t pitch, we can’t beat teams like this. As we move this file forward the rest of the year, my main concern is to pitch and find out how we react, how these young guys are doing.
“That’s what we need to know before the offseason. Without it, we will languish in the 0.500 zone for a long time.
Jared Walsh, on the 10-day injured list with a right intercostal strain, will travel with the Angels on their seven-game road trip to Toronto and New York.
Monday will mark two weeks since Walsh’s injury, but Maddon has said the first baseman won’t need a rehab stint in the minor leagues before his return – hopefully on Tuesday.
“I think he’s going to be OK to come back right away,” Maddon said. “He had that initial phase where he couldn’t do anything and then he was hitting in the cages. He pitched, did other baseball stuff. He should be back pretty soon.
RETURN OF DIVERS
In a pre-game right-handed reliever trade, the Angels recalled Aaron Slegers from Triple-A Salt Lake and selected Andrew Wantz.
Slegers, 28, last appeared with the Angels on July 4, when he allowed two runs in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles. Overall, he’s 2-2 with a 6.46 ERA in 23 2/3 innings this season. Slegers is 0-1 with a 6.12 ERA in 15 games (four starts) at Salt Lake Triple-A.
Wantz, 25, missed out on a game in his second major league stint of the season.
The Angels’ first pick in the June amateur draft, Sam Bachman, made his debut with the Class A Tri City Dust Devils. He pitched two scoreless innings against the Eugene Emeralds and allowed only one single to the infield while removing two. … The Angels’ Double-A affiliate, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, set a franchise record for points scored in their 26-3 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts. Outfielder Izzy Wilson (6 of 7) was among four players with at least three hits and four RBIs. … The Angels presented a cake to rehabilitation outfielder Mike Trout on his 30th birthday on Saturday, said Maddon. … The owner of the Angels, Arte Moreno, will be among the participants in a charity golf tournament Monday in Newport Beach to benefit the Hazelton Integration Project, which is part of the Maddon Respect 90 charity.
The Angels have a day off on Monday.