Angels Series Preview: L.A. Faces Division-Rival Rangers
Noah Syndergaard
Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels continue the final leg of their seven-game road trip with three games in Texas against the Rangers with the front of their rotation including Reid Detmers, who recently made some Halo history with a no-hitter.

Barring a ninth-inning collapse from closer Raisel Iglesias in game two, the Angels nearly swept the Oakland Athletics but still took 3-of-4 and remain in contention for the top spot in the American League West.

The Angels are tied with the Houston Astros for first in the A.L. West with a 24-13 record after winning seven of their last 10 games.

Game 1 5:05 p.m. PT

Coming off of a seven-strikeout game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Noah Syndergaard looks to continue what has become a bit of redemption season for the power right-hander. With a FIP of 3.38 and an ERA of 2.45 prior to this start, any worries about his health and swing & miss stuff have been hushed for the moment.

In Syndergaard’s April 16 start against the Rangers, he lasted six innings while allowing just two earned runs and guided the Angels to a 7-2 win. His batting average allowed on the season is down to .227 and has only allowed six walks in 29.1 innings.

However, Rangers’ shortstop Corey Seager has fared well against Syndergaard and has posted a .538 batting average with one home run in 13 at-bats.

The Rangers counter with 30-year-old Jon Gray, who found a home in Texas this past offseason with a 4-year $56 million dollar contract, but he has pitched nothing like a front end of the rotation arm. Unfortunately, his struggles have generated a FIP north of four and an ERA of 5.51.

Game 2 5:05 p.m. PT

Detmers could still be riding high from his no-hitter, but his numbers and ability to limit base hits have been noticeable in 2022. A .165 batting average allowed is an eye-popping number in 31 innings for the 22-year-old.

Against the Rays on May 10, he only notched two strikeouts and only has a season-high of five. His FIP currently sits at 4.04, and regardless of his ability to limit hits, his lack of strikeout stuff thus far coupled with a .174 BABIP shows he has had a fair amount of luck. This isn’t a knock on Detmers, but expectations should be cooled as he will need to find a way to miss more bats and stop allowing as much hard contact as he has.

This will be Detmers’ second meeting with the Rangers and after being touched up for five earned runs in just 3.1 innings pitched on April 15, he has to find another gear.

Taylor Hearn gets the ball in game two, and the converted reliever has had a rough time in his transition to a full-time starter, but with a season ERA of 5.26 and a WHIP of 1.64.

However, he is coming off his best start of the season against the Kansas City Royals with five innings of one-run baseball. Hearn has carried over his ability to miss bats from his time in the bullpen and has registered 29 punchouts in 25.2 innings pitched this season. But he will definitely have his hands full against an Angels lineup that has punished pitchers when making mistakes in the zone.

Game 3 5:05 p.m. PT

In the finale of this three-game set, the Angels will have their ace, Shohei Ohtani, on the mound after a terrific run of starts. In his two outings this month, Ohtani is 1-0 in 13 innings pitched and allowed just one earned run on 8 hits with 16 punchouts and a measly .167 batting average against.

At the plate, Ohtani launched his 100th career home run against the Athletics on Saturday and reached that mark faster than another Japanese-born player in Major League Baseball history.

Ohtani has rebounded from his early-season lul on the mound and has returned to the MVP form the world saw in 2021. His ERA now stands at 2.78 and has lowered his WHIP to 0.96.

Dane Dunning has arguably been the Rangers’ most reliable starter in terms of taking the mound to provide innings, but his season has been a rollercoaster. After his April 30 start of 7.2 innings of one-run baseball against the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves, Dunning allowed five runs on six hits to the Boston Red Sox in his most recent start.

Dunning has been better than his numbers suggest with a FIP of 3.29, but he has seen his hard-contact rate increase every year as a big-league pitcher.

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