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ICYMI: A Motor City miracle, Ohtani sets HR record, new prospect rankings and more injury news

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The Angels made some special Motown memories and look to carry the momentum forward into a special weekend against Cleveland.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, what a week, and it’s not over yet! Aside from the loss in the Bronx, the Angels have strung together some really nice wins, none more exciting than the huge comeback against Detroit on Thursday. They now head into a series against Cleveland that will be very different than a usual series at Progressive Field. There’s a ton to get into, both good and bad (mostly good), that happened this week so let’s start with what happened on the field:

Angels on the Road

  • Before the Halos took off for their 10-game road trip, they closed their three-game series against Houston at home on Sunday. Rookie LHP Reid Detmers picked up his first Major League win and had his curveball, Hell’s Rainbow, on full display. He finished with a line of 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 6 SO in the Angels’ 3-1 victory.
  • The Angels faced the Yankees for a one-game makeup series at New York on Monday where the offense couldn’t get anything done after the first inning. They lost 2-1 and only recorded three hits.
  • Another quick turnaround saw the Angels start a three-game series at Detroit on Tuesday. There is a ton to unpack here so we’re going to take it game-by-game.

Game 1 (8/17): The Halos once again struggled to score runs for most of the game, but Jo Adell made his impact in a 2-2 tie in the ninth inning. The Angels struck for six in the final frame, with four coming off a grand slam by Adell to take the lead. Since being called up this season, he’s been insanely fun to watch and continues to show progress both at the plate and in the outfield. Clearly amped up as he rounded the bases, it felt like his energy embodied Angels fans’ enthusiasm about the prospect of Adell playing like this for years to come. The Angels won 8-2.

Game 2 (8/18): Ohtani Day did not disappoint. The future AL MVP pitched an MLB-career-long eight innings of one-run ball against the Tigers in the Angels’ 3-1 win on Wednesday. He collected eight strikeouts on his way to an 8-1 record and 2.79 ERA. Oh, and while he was starting to wedge his way into the AL Cy Young race, Ohtani gave himself an insurance run with a 430 foot home run. His 40 home runs on the season are an MLB best and an Angels single-season record for most home runs by a left-handed hitter. Reggie Jackson previously held the title with 39 home runs in 1982.

Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, the Comerica crowd deserves some love for their warm reception of the Japanese superstar. Joe Maddon said the Detroit fans cheered for him louder than any other road city has this year. In a series where future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera was looking for career home run No. 500 (he did not achieve that feat against the Angels), Tigers fans were especially electric and showered Ohtani with some of that love. The cheers were a great example of how Ohtani’s two-way ability and likeability have transcended basic fandom.

Game 3 (8/19): After LHP Patrick Sandoval went on the IL (more on that later), LHP José Quintana got the spot start in the matinee finale. In continuity with his 2021 season, Quintana was bad. He only went 1.1 IP after giving up 7 H, 6 R (5 ER) and raising his ERA to 6.84. RHP Aaron Slegers was equally inefficient, finishing with 3.1 IP, 7H, 4 R and 2 HR. The score was 10-2 heading into the sixth inning. That’s where the magic began.

The Angels logged six runs in the sixth inning, making it a game. The scoring started with a fluke RBI single by Phil Gosselin and two bases-loaded walks from Jared Walsh and Justin Upton. Now 10-5, the Halos added on with an RBI groundout by Adell and a two-RBI triple by rookie Brandon Marsh, his second triple of the day.

Walsh cut the score to 10-9 with an RBI double in the seventh inning and Max Stassi hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to put the Angels up for good. Ohtani tacked on another run that inning via a sac fly and Gosselin hit a home run in the ninth to finish the scoring off at 13-10 and cement the win. RHP Austin Warren pitched the final two innings and collected his first career save.

Marsh was the major offensive catalyst of the day, going 3-5 with two triples and three RBIs. His first triple hit above the yellow line in right field and was probably worth reviewing for a home run. Maddon stated, however, that he chose to forgo going to the monitors because a review could turn the triple into a double had there been fan interference. Marsh has had several close encounters with picking up his first career home run, with two hits missing by mere inches during this series.

The Angels’ improbable comeback resulted in their fifth sweep of the season and a 62-61 record overall.

  • The Angels hope to have continued success against the AL Central this weekend as they take on the Cleveland Indians. The first two games of the series will take place at Progressive Field in Cleveland, but the Sunday game will be held in Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series. RHP Jaime Barria (2-1, 4.71 ERA), Detmers (1-2, 7.04 ERA) and LHP José Suarez will get the starts in the three-game series. In a fun twist of events, the Angels will meet LA County Torrance Little League there as the stadium will have two California representatives over the weekend.

New Prospect Rankings

  • MLB Pipeline ranked three Angels prospects in the top 100 overall. Detmers came in highest at No. 24. Marsh came in at No. 43 and 2021 first-round pick RHP Sam Bachman was listed at No. 96. Bachman is currently at Class A Advanced Tri-City and has logged four innings.

Injury News

  • The Angels just can’t catch a break. LHP Patrick Sandoval was placed on the IL with a lower back injury that will likely force him to miss the rest of the season. Sandoval posted a 3.39 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 87 innings this season before he was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday. He was having a breakout season with a place in the Angels’ rotation but is now obviously shutdown until the injury is better evaluated, according to Maddon on Wednesday. Further testing will reveal a better timetable for his return. Here’s to a speedy recovery.
  • RHP Alex Cobb threw on Wednesday and participated in on-field workouts. However, he has yet to throw a bullpen session. Cobb went on the 10-day IL on July 30 and has had a considerably slow rehabilitation process, despite having a clean MRI of his wrist.
  • Mike Trout was seen participating in an on-field workout on Tuesday after traveling with the team. Once he can run without restrictions, expect a rehab assignment announcement. The light workouts and traveling are good signs, but, in all honesty, he should’ve been back playing by now. Trout went on the IL on May 18 with a right calf strain.

Fun Tidbits

  • The Halos’ comeback win on Thursday tied a franchise record for largest deficit overcome in a win. Down eight runs, the Angels scored 11 unanswered to take the W 13-10. The other eight-run comeback also came against Detroit in 1986.
  • Marsh was the first Angel to triple twice in a game since Erick Aybar did it in 2011.