ANAHEIM — Reid Detmers demonstrated more than just an ability to get outs during his no hitter on Tuesday night.
He got out by pitching to contact.
The 22-year-old rookie left-hander had just two strikeouts in his no-hitter, the first time in 11 years that a pitcher had thrown a no-hitter with as few as two strikeouts. The last one was Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins, who threw a two-strikeout no-hitter on May 3, 2011.
“In the past, I’ve always had a bunch of strikeouts and my pitch counts have always been up pretty quick,” Detmers said on Wednesday, the day after his historic performance in a 12-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. “Being able to pitch the contact helped a lot, especially getting quick outs. That was huge.”
There have been 255 individual nine-inning no-hitters since 1901, and the pitcher had two or fewer strikeouts in just 28 of those. Half of those were before 1920, when strikeouts were less common.
Of the 58 no-hitters in the 21st century, only six included fewer than six strikeouts.
Detmers was able to finish the two-strikeout no-hitter because the kept the Rays from hitting the ball hard. They hit only four balls at 100 mph or harder, and six of the seven hardest-hit balls were on the ground.
“When you create soft contact, your defense gets bigger,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “So that’s what I saw last night.”
Detmers needed 108 pitches to finish nine innings, which is an average of just 12 per inning.
“You get efficient, early-count outs, you get 100 pitches in the eighth or ninth inning all the time,” Maddon said. “I love it. It’s more of an artistic form of playing the game. It’s not blunt. It’s not just trying to spin the ball at the top of the zone as hard as you can. Guys that pitch like that legitimately have a chance to pitch for a while.”
Mike Trout was out of the lineup for the second time in a week, another day off as Maddon tries to keep the three-time American League MVP fresh for the entire season. Trout played just 36 games last season because of a strained calf and then had a shortened spring training.
Trout said that he appreciated the chance to have two straight days off, including Thursday’s scheduled off day.
“We were trying to do the back-to-back days, which is huge for me,” said Trout, who ended up pinch-hitting in the 10th on Wednesday. “I like that. It’s worked in the past. It’s good. My body feels great.”
This was the sixth time Trout has been out of the lineup. He was sick once, and he missed three games after being hit in the hand by a pitch. Last Thursday in Boston was the only other time he was out by the manager’s decision.
Maddon said this was a good time to give Trout a rest, even though he’d just been off last week, because of the Angels’ streak of 20 games in a row and the upcoming doubleheader on Saturday.
“A lot of little things going on,” Maddon said. “Just give him a break today and then I think we’re gonna reap the benefits.”
Outfielder Taylor Ward said he “absolutely” will be back in the starting lineup on Friday in Oakland. He did not start any of the three games against the Rays because of a tight hamstring, but he was well enough to hit a game-tying pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning on Wednesday. …
Infielder Matt Duffy, who has been on the COVID-related injured list, joined the team on Wednesday. Maddon said Duffy is “fine” and “probably will” be activated. …
A day after Anthony Rendon hit a homer batting left-handed, Maddon joked that he listed the third baseman as a switch-hitter on his lineup card. Rendon often takes swings in the cage left-handed, which Maddon said is not that unusual. “Just for your body looseness and flexibility, taking some swings on the other side can help you on your regular side,” Maddon said.
Angels (TBD) at A’s (RHP Daulton Jeffries, 1-5, 5.22), Friday, 6:40 p.m., Bally Sports West, 830 AM