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Angels wrap up 2021 season looking to play spoiler once again

After six long months, we’ve finally reached the end

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

For fans of of the game of baseball, Sunday has all the makings of a banner day. Playoff implications are galore across the league today, and with every single game kicking off at the exact same time, chaos has a chance to reign supreme.

As you probably already know by now, the Angels are not one of the lucky teams fighting for their playoff lives today. Their poor September performance left them out of those discussions for a while now, which leaves them with not much left to play for on Sunday. There is one thing that they can accomplish when noon rolls around, though, which is eliminating their division rivals from postseason contention themselves. The Mariners stayed alive in their chase for the AL Wild Card with their win in last night’s game, but they need another one in order to stave off elimination once again. A win for the Halos would stop these dreams in their tracks, though, and ending Seattle’s season would be a good way for the boys in red to build some momentum heading into one of the most important offseasons in recent franchise history.

For the season finale, the Angels hand the ball to top prospect Reid Detmers, who is making his first start in the big leagues since August 21. Detmers made four starts for the club in August, showing flashes but ultimately pitching to a 7.11 ERA across 19 innings, but a bout with COVID put him on the shelf for over a month. He returned for two brief innings with the Salt Lake Bees on Monday, and on Sunday, he’ll get his first taste of a playoff-like environment in the season’s final game.

For Detmers, the big key in this one will be keeping the ball in the park, as the main thing that plagued him during his brief big-league stint in August was the longball. Detmers gave up five home runs in his four starts, most of which came due to missed spots with his fastball and breaking pitches. The Mariners don’t have the most fearsome lineup in the league by any means, but they have some guys that can hit mistakes a long way, so staying on top of his command and avoiding the fat parts of the zone will be of the utmost importance for the rookie today.

Opposite Detmers will be Tyler Anderson, who the Angels saw not that long ago. Anderson started against the Halos last Saturday and put up what was without a doubt the worst start of his season, lasting just 2+ innings while giving up nine earned on nine hits in what became a 14-1 drubbing in favor of the Angels. The key to the Halos’ offensive explosion in that game was a very aggressive approach at the plate, as they took advantage of Anderson’s tendency to fill up the zone by attacking strikes early and often. This game plan worked wonders for them before, so don’t be surprised to see them hacking away from the get-go in this one as well.

Angels News and Notes

  • Perhaps the biggest piece of news on the season’s final day came from Shohei Ohtani, who told reporters before the game that he is “very open” to negotiating a contract extension this offseason. Those talks have reportedly not taken place as of yet, but the fact that Ohtani is ready and willing to discuss it is obviously a very encouraging sign for the Angels
  • Juan Lagares returns to the lineup today after injuring himself on Friday and missing yesterday’s game. He takes Brandon Marsh’s spot on the field, who himself tweaked his ankle on Saturday and looked to be in a bit of pain despite finishing out the game.
  • There were a number of different roster moves made by the Angels before today’s finale. In order to make room on the roster for Detmers’s return, the club optioned Jhonathan Diaz, yesterday’s starter, to AAA Salt Lake. They also placed Taylor Ward on the injured list with a right adductor strain and reinstated Junior Guerra from the IL. Ward was removed from Thursday’s game against the Rangers early on, and Guerra had been on the IL with a hamstring strain.