Angels end losing skid, but another injury creates more challenges

 Angels' Mickey Moniak, right, is congratulated by David Fletcher after homering against Arizona on July 2, 2023, in Anaheim.
The Angels’ Mickey Moniak, right, receives congratulations from David Fletcher after Moniak hit a three-run homer in the second inning Sunday. Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly looks on.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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The Angel Stadium crowd had plenty of reasons to roar on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Their award-winning sluggers, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, hit mammoth home runs. One of their up-and-coming players, Mickey Moniak, also crushed a home run. Their young starter, Reid Detmers, was brilliant. Their closer, Carlos Estévez, picked up his 21st save in as many chances this season.

By all accounts, Sunday was a good day for the Angels, who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 and ended a four-game losing streak, sending a reminder of what and who some of their strengths are. Yet, on the heels of losing another key starter and offensive contributor, the challenges that lie ahead before the All-Star break — a three-game series with the Padres in San Diego and a two-game series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles — should not be overlooked.

Reid Detmers may only have a 2-5 record but there’s no Angels pitcher who is performing better these days. On Sunday, he helped them end a four-game slide.

July 2, 2023

Brandon Drury was put on the injured list Sunday because of a left shoulder bruise. He hurt his shoulder while diving for a ground ball hit by Yasmani Grandal of the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Drury was batting .277 with an .822 on-base-plus-slugging rate before landing on the IL. Although he had a quiet start to the season, Drury started to heat up in May. In June, he batted .337 with a .908 OPS.


The Angels closed out Sunday at 45-41, two games out of an American League wild-card playoff spot. They went 3-4 on the homestand, splitting four games with the White Sox and losing two of three to the Diamondbacks.

During their four-game skid, the Angels were outscored 29-15.. Drury did not play in the last two games of the streak.

Angels manager Phil Nevin, after a loss Saturday, said, “It hurts not having [Drury] in there. It’s a big bat, it’s a big piece of what we do, but everybody goes through injuries, we’re not gonna dwell on that. You gotta next-man-up mentality and get through it, but losing that bat certainly is making a difference.”

The Angels have added several new players in recent weeks. They traded for Mike Moustakas and Eduardo Escobar, and selected David Fletcher’s contract again at the end of June. While all three have demonstrated in the past what they can do, they will need a bigger sample size to show how much they can help this season.

Andrew Velazquez was recalled Sunday to replace Drury. Anthony Rendon returned from his second IL stint Friday.

Drury said Sunday that his shoulder felt a little better and that he had a little more range of motion. He tried swinging a bat Friday but was unable to and has since just been resting his shoulder. The additional rest granted by the All-Star break should also help.

Angels second baseman Brandon Drury in the ninth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies.
Angels second baseman Brandon Drury, hitting in a recent game against the Colorado Rockies, went on the injured list Sunday with a shoulder bruise.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

“I think the All-Star break’s huge,” Drury said. “Get the extra five days to rest it and treat it and get it back to better for a second half.”

If the Angels get through the upcoming trip with an improved record compared to this homestand, they’ll be all the better for it.

And on the other side of that break, perhaps a return of some of those injured players.

MLB home run leader Shohei Ohtani broke his personal record for his longest homer, crushing a 493-foot bomb during the Angels’ loss Friday.

June 30, 2023

All-Star roster reveals

Ohtani was selected as an All-Star as a pitcher Sunday, making it the third consecutive year he has been an All-Star at both designated hitter and pitcher. He’s the only player in major league history to be named an All-Star at both positions.

“I’m honored and I’ll give it my best in appreciation for those who selected me,” Ohtani said in a statement.

Estévez was notably not on the announced list of All-Star pitchers. Estévez is still eligible to make the All-Star Game if another American League reliever on the roster decides not to play.


While Estévez would accept a reserve selection, he said he deserved to be one of the pitchers announced Sunday.

“If I get in, I get in, but at the same time, I shouldn’t be a reserve guy, just saying,” Estévez said. “I should have [already] been one of the guys. But I can’t control that, I can’t worry about it.”