Two of the top rookie pitchers in the American League will square off on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Angels face the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis.
Left-hander Reid Detmers (6-5, 3.71 ERA), the only pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter this season, gets the start for the Angels (66-85). The 23-year-old will be opposed by right-hander Joe Ryan (12-8, 3.61), who hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts for the Twins (73-78).
Ryan flirted with a no-hitter on Sept. 13 in a 6-3 victory against Kansas City before he was lifted by manager Rocco Baldelli following seven no-hit innings and 106 pitches. Ryan followed that up with 7 2/3 shutout innings in a 3-0 victory at Cleveland on Sunday.
Ryan enters Saturday’s contest with 138 strikeouts this season, just six shy of Francisco Liriano’s team rookie record of 144 set in 2006.
During a disappointing September that has seen Minnesota sputter to just a 6-16 mark, including 1-8 over the past nine games, Ryan has been one of the few bright spots.
“He’s pitching in spots where he hasn’t pitched before, and I think he’s taking what he’s done in the past and expanding on it and finding some different space,” Baldelli said. “We talk about adjustments all the time, and he’s making a ton of them right now.”
It will be Ryan’s first career start against Los Angeles, while Detmers will be making his second career start against Minnesota. He didn’t figure in the decision in a 5-3 victory over the Twins on Aug. 13, when he allowed two runs on five hits over five innings while striking out nine.
Detmers was impressive in his last start, a 6-5 victory over Seattle on Sunday. He permitted one run on four hits with three strikeouts over six innings.
The Angels won the first game of the series, 4-2, on Friday night. Reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani picked up his 14th win of the season on a chilly and soggy night at Target Field.
Ohtani no-hit the Twins for the first 4 2/3 innings but battled control problems, yielding a season-high six walks and also hitting a batter. He allowed two runs on three hits over five-plus innings and struck out seven. That gives him 203 strikeouts in 153 innings and makes him the 11th pitcher in team history to record 200 strikeouts in a season.
“Yeah, in so few innings too,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “He’s not throwing as many innings as most of the guys who have gotten to 200. He’s got two more starts. He’ll add to that number I’m sure but it’s a nice one to get to.”
Although his team lost its fifth straight game, Baldelli was pleased with the way the Twins battled against Ohtani.
“I was reasonably pleased that we didn’t just go out there just swinging,” Baldelli said. “We actually made him get back in the zone and make some pitches. He pitched pretty deep into the game, but we were able to get him out of there and we were still in the ballgame. When we’re facing a guy like that, to have a chance to win the game, be in a good tight ballgame like that, is a good thing. I thought our at-bats against him were solid.”
–Field Level Media