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    Angels’ Reid Detmers thriving with a new version of his slider
    • June 28, 2023

    ANAHEIM — For the second straight season, it seems that Reid Detmers’ fortunes have turned with a change to his slider.

    A year ago, the Angels made an adjustment to have him throw it harder. He continued too far on that trajectory in the winter, so this year they’ve dialed it back.

    “The harder you throw it, the more rise it’s gonna have so it’s more like a cutter,” Detmers said. “I learned that the hard way. Once I started realizing it’s more like a cutter, it’s not as good as the ones that have depth. I needed to make a change.”

    A day after Detmers pitched his fourth consecutive dominant game, he detailed the journey of his slider.

    Detmers said the Angels’ pitching braintrust convened after he gave up four runs in five innings in a June 1 start in Houston, raising his ERA to 5.15. The consensus was the extra velocity he’d found on his slider over the winter was hurting more than it was helping.

    Detmers also realized that by trying to throw the pitch with less velocity, it was allowing him to have better command with it when he did reincorporate some velocity.

    The end result was that he now has two varieties of sliders to use, one that is around 90-91 mph and one that is 85-86 mph.

    “I wouldn’t say it makes life easier, but it definitely makes you feel you have something they’ve never seen before,” Detmers said. “I could throw the soft one and the next pitch I can throw the hard one. Make them think ‘Which slider is he going to throw?’”

    After Detmers returned from a one-game minor league stint last summer, his average slider velocity had increased from 83.6 mph to 87.1 mph. His ERA with the new slider was 3.04 over 13 starts.

    This season, Detmers’ slider averaged 90.2 mph over his first 10 starts, up until that game in Houston. Opponents were hitting .279 against the pitch. His fastball, meanwhile, averaged 94.9 mph.

    “I was hearing some feedback from like the other guys on the other teams that were saying with the slider being so hard, they can just look in a certain area,” Detmers said. “If it’s a fastball at 95 or a slider at 92, they can go in that area and have a decent chance. That makes complete sense. I needed to figure out how to make it a little bit slower to get them out of that range.”

    In the four starts since, the average slider is 88.5 mph, which is still higher than last year because now he’s throwing the softer one and the harder one. Opponents have hit .147 against his slider in the last four games.

    He’s also maintained his fastball velocity at just under 95 mph, before and after the slider change, which has given him more of a gap between the pitches. That’s eliminated the need for him to throw his changeup at all.

    In those games, Detmers has allowed one run or fewer and struck out eight or more each time, joining Shohei Ohtani and Nolan Ryan as the only Angels pitchers to do that in four straight starts.

    Mike Trout said he was impressed with what he saw from center field as Detmers held the Chicago White Sox to one run in seven innings on Monday night.

    “Reid’s nasty,” Trout said. “He’s throwing all his pitches for strikes and changing speeds with his slider, throwing one hard, throwing one soft. It’s pretty impressive.”


    Left-handed reliever Matt Moore (strained oblique) said he’s not sure when he’s going to get back on a mound for a bullpen session or a simulated game. Moore said “my whole body felt kind of sore” after Saturday’s simulated game, so now they are taking it day by day. “I think it’ll be ready when it’s ready,” Moore said. “It’s hard to say more than that. I know we’re doing our best.” …

    Third baseman Anthony Rendon (bruised wrist) took batting practice on the field for the first time since he was injured on June 15. “That’s a big step,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “We’ll see where we go from there.” …

    Right-hander Ben Joyce (ulnar neuritis) advanced to throwing on the field for the first time since he was hurt. A day earlier he had thrown indoors. …

    Infielder Eduardo Escobar did not land in Orange County until around 90 minutes before game time, so the Angels activated him from the restricted list but did not put him in the starting lineup. Escobar had been in Florida to complete the process of becoming a United States citizen. …

    Outfielder Jo Adell was optioned. He had been up for just one day while Escobar was away. …

    Outfielder Mickey Moniak acknowledged that his left hip was sore on Monday, the result of him catching his cleat while rounding second base on Saturday night. However, he said he was feeling much better on Tuesday, well enough to start in center field. …

    Trout got the day off on Tuesday. Nevin said they had planned to give Trout one day off during this stretch of 13 games without an off day, and they agreed after Monday’s game that this was the best one. The Angels won five of the first six games in which Trout was not in the lineup.


    White Sox (RHP Lucas Giolito, 5-5, 3.41 ERA) at Angels (RHP Jaime Barria, 2-2, 2.14 ERA), Wednesday, 6:38 p.m., Angel Stadium, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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    ​ Orange County Register