Coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, the Los Angeles Angels were hoping to bounce back as they started a 10-game road trip. Against the lowly Detroit Tigers, a strong three-game series felt possible, especially with Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers, and Shohei Ohtani taking the mound.
Instead, the Angels faltered in a number of ways. Detmers and Ohtani struggled with command and velocity, the latter due to a stomach virus, while the offense pieced together a grand total of four runs over three games.
Mike Trout made his return to the lineup after missing 30 games and played all three games. He went 3-for-11 with three singles and a walk, but was unable to propel the Angels offense to more significant run totals.
Winning against this Tigers team was vital, as the Angels face a daunting stretch of schedule ahead, including back-to-back road series’ with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. Now, they go into that stretch having lost five of six.
Game 1: Angels def. Tigers 1-0
Behind one of the best performances of Patrick Sandoval’s young career, the Angels tied the American League lead in shutout wins this season. Sandoval tossed a complete game with only four hits allowed, no walks, and nine strikeouts.
The Angels lone run came via a Jared Walsh home run in the second inning, but the offense was not the big story. Sandoval had been very public about his struggles with command this season, and how frustrating it was to constantly have traffic on the bases.
He channeled that anger into an elite start, reminding everyone of the type of pitcher he can be for the future of the Angels franchise. Sandoval is still just 25 years old, and has pitched a complete game shutout and was two outs away from a no-hitter in 2021.
Game 2: Tigers def. Angels 4-3
While Sandoval had his best start of the season on Friday, Detmers had one of his worst on Saturday. After a string of six remarkable outings from the Angels youngster, he reverted back to many of the habits he displayed during his rookie season.
He struggled with location, either throwing balls far outside of the strike zone or leaving pitches too center cut. He was rocked by the Tigers offense for four runs on 10 hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. He struck out just three batters despite an elite K-per-nine since the All-Star break.
The Angels offense was humming to begin the afternoon affair — three runs in three innings — but crashed to a halt after that. They managed just one hit — an infield single — between the fourth and ninth inning.
Game 3: Tigers def. Angels 4-0
Ohtani’s stomach virus limited him to just four uneven innings in the series finale. In that time, he gave up three runs on five hits and a season-high four walks. And while it would be easy to chalk this up as the entire reason for the loss, the zero on the scoreboard tells its own story.
The Angels had no problem getting on base Sunday afternoon. They had 10 baserunners — seven hits and three walks — four of whom reached scoring position. But they couldn’t scratch across any runs, despite a two-hit outing from Trout.
The Tigers, 29 games below .500, being able to shut out the Angels shows just how far the team’s offense has slid throughout the summer. Now, with the Angels going up against some of the best pitchers in the AL against the Rays and Blue Jays, they’ll need to find a different way to create some offensive rhythm.