Reliever Jimmy Herget has been thriving, but Angels fall to Astros

Jimmy Herget has been one of the most formidable arms out of the Angels’ bullpen since he returned from the injured list at the end of July.

And in two of the Angels’ biggest home crowds in August — announced sellouts with the New York Yankees in town — he showed progress as he converted both save situations.

On Aug. 29, Herget took the mound with the Angels up one run against the Yankees and needing two outs to end the game. He struck out the first batter on two sliders and a curveball. Then he gave up a single, but he was able to close it when the third batter lined out.

More impressive was his next save two days later, coming on in the ninth inning with another one-run lead. He started off slowly, walking Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but then struck out the next two and induced a groundout to end the game.

“It’s a good opportunity,” Herget, talking before the Angels’ game against the Houston Astros on Friday night, said of getting those save opportunities. “I saved a lot of games in the minor leagues, but it doesn’t compare to the big league saves, especially against the crowd that we had the other night.

“[Interim manager Phil Nevin] has never come up to me and said that I’m the closer or anything like that. I’m just continuing to go out there and whenever the phone rings for my name, I’m gonna pitch.”

Angels reliever Jimmy Herget and catcher Max Stassi celebrate a win over the Yankees on Aug. 31, 2022.

Angels relief pitcher Jimmy Herget, right, and catcher Max Stassi celebrate a 3-2 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday night. Herget again recorded a save.

(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Through 11 games and 17 innings of relief in August, Herget had a 0.53 earned-run average and a 2.24 FIP — fielding independent pitching, which measures how well a pitcher can strike out batters and not give up home runs, walks or hit batters.

Those two statistics were the best among Angels relievers throughout the month.

Herget has pitched in every inning throughout the season. He’s started and he’s closed. He has had only six save opportunities, securing wins in five of those games, four of which came in August (and three of which came in the final games of the month).

But his August was an improvement as slow and steady as his approach on the mound.

By the time he was sidelined June 22 with a right shoulder impingement, he had accumulated a 3.72 ERA and a 3.26 FIP having given up 15 earned runs, including four home runs, and walked six batters over 25 games (361/3 innings pitched).

Since returning July 31, he has a 2.70 ERA and 2.94 FIP.

“He’s a very cerebral guy, and he has a really good idea of how to attack hitters,” Angels pitching coach Matt Wise said of Herget. “He understands his stuff as well as anybody on the team.

“And he’s a unique guy. It’s different arm angles. It’s kinda funky. You kind of know what you’re gonna get in Jimmy, and there’s a lot of trust in that.”

Angels start slowly in loss to Astros

Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers delivers during the second inning Sept. 2, 2022.

Left-handed starter Reid Detmers gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings and took the defeat in the Angels’ 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night.

(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

The Angels were held scoreless through five innings before they pushed across their first runs in a 4-2 loss to Houston.

With the Angels down 4-0 to the Astros, Taylor Ward led off the sixth inning with a single off Lance McCullers Jr. Mike Ford created more traffic on the bases, reaching on a walk.

And Matt Duffy drove in the Angels’ first run on a double that looked as if it would go the distance and clear the center-field wall, but instead hit the warning track and bounced over.

Matt Thaiss’ sacrifice fly allowed Ford to score.

The Astros scored twice in the third inning on hits by Chas McCormick, José Altuve and Jeremy Peña and a sacrifice fly by Alex Bregman. They put their next two runs on in the fifth.

Angels starter Reid Detmers walked Altuve and Bregman, who eventually were walked in by reliever José Marté.

All four runs were earned for Detmers, who was done after 4 1/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and struck out six.

“I feel fine. Just didn’t make pitches I needed to in big situations,” Detmers said. “I had a couple of walks that I got frustrated with, but it really just came down to making the pitches I needed to make in big situations.”

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