ANAHEIM — It takes a lot of optimism to think that the all-local programming the Angels used Friday night has the same future as the one they last used 23 years ago.
This one contained the core of a World Series winner. This one ends at least a rather miserable season on an upward trajectory.
Using a starting lineup of 10 players who had never worn another major league uniform, the Angels beat the Texas Rangers, 4-1, to win their fifth straight game.
The last time the entire Angels roster, including the pitcher, was made up of homegrown players was Aug. 27, 1999, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The program that day against the Boston Red Sox included several of the key players who lifted the World Series trophy in 2002: Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, Darin Erstad, Troy Glaus and Bengie Molina.
This time the Angels started wide receiver Logan O’Hoppe, first baseman Matt Thaiss, second baseman David Fletcher, shortstop Livan Soto, third baseman Luis Rengifo, left fielder Jo Adell, center fielder Mike Trout, right fielder Taylor Ward, designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and pitcher Reid Detmers.
Six of the players on the roster were Angels draft picks, including five first-rounders. O’Hoppe and Rengifo were acquired in the trades as minor leaguers. Soto was signed as an underage free agent. Ohtani chose the Angels when he came to the majors from Japan.
“That’s pretty cool,” manager Phil Nevin said after being alerted to the rarity of such a lineup.
Nevin added that the Angels, who have struggled to produce their own talent for years, finally seem to be turning the corner.
“I don’t think there’s a secret where this organization was even a few years ago,” Nevin said. “In a short time, you can see the depth coming. You can see the talent coming.
Four of those early rounds – Trout (2009), Ward (2015), Adell (2017) and Detmers (2020) – were key contributors to victory.
Detmers allowed one run in six innings in his final start of the season, striking out nine and one on the walk.
“The last two weeks have been a bit tough, but it’s been a good rebound,” Detmers said. “I’m happy with how it went. It was a good way to end the season. »
Detmers finished his first full major league season with a 7-6 record and a 3.77 ERA over 25 starts and 129 innings. In the middle of that, he threw a match at Triple-A, and it turned out to be significant. Although Detmers threw a no-hitter in May, he was struggling when the Angels grounded him in June. He rediscovered a mechanical tweak to improve his slider in his only game in Salt Lake. Since returning, Detmers has posted a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts.
“It’s been a great year for a guy who’s been out of college for two years,” Nevin said. “You can see there’s a very high ceiling there.”
Detmers was buoyed up early by a second-run homer from Adell, his eighth of the season. The ball exploded from his bat at 109.5 mph and sailed over the fence to left center.
“He really got into it,” Nevin said. “Wow. You think the line drives wide and then it keeps carrying. The ball gets smaller and smaller. That’s how he hits them. You watch him practice batting. He is strong. He has serious batting speed.
Rengifo added a home run in the third inning, his 17th of the season. In the fifth inning, Trout doubled up and Ward led him in with his second hit of the night.
Ward started the season on fire, struggled for a few months after injuring his shoulder in late May and is now finishing strong. He is hitting .407 and his OPS is 1.161 OPS in his last 23 games.
Ohtani also had a pair of singles, extending his hitting streak to 15 games, a career high.