The Los Angeles Angels found themselves down 2-0 in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros on Friday, and a decision to bring in reliever José Marté with runners on was a head-scratcher, unfortunately, it ultimately was the deciding factor.
The Angels came into Friday’s series being winners in five of their last six games and were playing a very competitive brand of baseball. After Reid Detmers walked Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, he followed that up by allowing a single to Astros right fielder, Kyle Tucker, loading the bases.
Nevin decided that with one out and the bases loaded he would call on Marté to try and work his way out of the jam. Prior to this outing, Marte had a career 21.7% walk rate and averaged 8.71 walks-per-nine. He wound up walking into runs, bringing the score to 4-0 in favor of the Astros.
After the game, Nevin stood by his call to go with Marte, citing a few factors that went into his decision, via Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register:
“He’s been throwing strikes and we’ve got to see what some of these guys do too, as well,” Nevin said. “We’re trying to win games and I thought that was my best chance to win the game right there in the fifth inning.”
Nevin’s reasoning is sound, and Marté is an older prospect who has battled control issues his entire career through the minor league ranks, which have followed him to the majors. If not then, when, to find out what he can do in the exact positions a reliever will find themselves in.
Reid Detmers matches highest earned run total since being recalled
Detmers was sent down to Triple-A for one start around two months ago. He quickly was called back up to the Majors, believing he’d made a discovery with his slider that should propel his development. The theory was correct, as Detmers has been rock solid for the Angels in the months since.
In his eight starts prior to Friday night against the Astros, Detmers carried a 1.97 ERA and had allowed over two runs just one time. He reached the sixth inning in five of those eight starts, and only gave up two home runs, a stark difference from the early starts of his career.
But on Friday — facing a hugely talented Astros lineup — Detmers struggled. He was nearly flawless through two frames, only allowing an infield single to Jeremy Peña. But things started to fall apart in the third, with Chas McCormick hitting a leadoff double.
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