Detmers joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (1963, ’64 and ’65) and Mike Fiers (2015) as the only pitchers to achieve that feat. Notably, Detmers also became the first rookie to do so. It was part of a stellar outing for the 23-year-old, who set a career high with 12 strikeouts over seven strong innings in a 5-2 loss at Angel Stadium.
“I didn’t know that, but that’s pretty cool,” Detmers said when told of his achievement. “I don’t really know what to say. My stuff was working and I felt good, and I got some swings and misses.”
Detmers, who threw a no-hitter against the Rays on May 10, gave up a run in the first on a two-out RBI single from Nathaniel Lowe on Sunday. But he bounced back in a big way in the second, striking out Ezequiel Duran, Kole Calhoun and Charlie Culberson on nine pitches to record the third immaculate inning in Angels history.
Detmers joined Nolan Ryan (July 9, 1972) and Garrett Richards (June 4, 2014) as the only Halos pitchers to achieve the feat.
“I treated the inning like anything else,” Detmers said. “But I focused on throwing more strikes, because I was a little wild in the first. I just focused on throwing strikes in the zone, and it worked out.”
Detmers, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, mixed up his pitches in the frame, as he started off Duran with a four-seam fastball and then went with a sinker for a called strike, before getting him to whiff on a slider. Calhoun was then thrown a slider for a swinging strike, a slider for a called strike and yet another slider for a third strike on a foul tip. Culberson received all four-seamers, swinging at the first and third pitches around fouling off Detmers’ second offering.
“I knew he was looking for a slider the whole time, because I throw a lot of sliders with two strikes,” Detmers said of Culberson. “I just wanted to challenge him with a fastball, and even if he fouled it off, there would be two strikes. So I just went after him.”
It was the 109th immaculate inning in AL/NL history, with 99 pitchers accomplishing the feat. But incredibly, the Rangers have been the victims of three immaculate innings this season, including two against the Astros on June 15.
“This is something that doesn’t happen very often,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s happened to us a few times. It’s more luck, I think, than anything. But it also just shows you where [Detmers] was at. We had a hard time laying off that fastball, especially after he threw the slider and curveball for strikes, in that inning especially. We had a hard time with it. He was good today.”
Detmers kept rolling from there, as the only other run he allowed was unearned in the fifth, when left fielder Brandon Marsh made an error that allowed Charlie Culberson to reach third and eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
Detmers had his swing-and-miss stuff working, as his 12 strikeouts were five higher than his previous career best of seven against the Orioles on July 8. He’s looked like a different pitcher since his brief demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake in late June, as he’s posted a 1.13 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 24 innings over his past four starts, dating back to July 8. It’s lowered his ERA to 3.62 in 16 outings this year.
“I’m proud of a lot of things he’s done and the adjustments he made down at Triple-A in his one start,” Halos interim manager Phil Nevin said. “The guy who has come back has been incredible. He’s been able to self-adjust on the mound. His presence has been really good. Quite frankly, he shouldn’t have given up any runs today.”
Detmers tweaked his slider with the help of Minor League pitching coordinator Buddy Carlyle before his lone start in Triple-A on June 29, and it’s clearly paid off. Detmers registered 24 swing-and-misses against the Rangers, including 10 with his slider, 10 with his fastball, three with his curveball and one with his changeup. The 24 whiffs were tied for the 11th most by any pitcher this season.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Detmers said. “Since that start in Baltimore, I’ve felt good. My stuff has been working like I want it to, and I’ve been able to get some swings and misses.”