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OC Register: Angels reliever Jimmy Herget mixed it up in perfect outing


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NEW YORK — Jimmy Herget, who has made a career of getting right-handed hitters out with an assortment of breaking balls, was standing on the mound, with one of baseball’s best righties in the box on Tuesday night.

With a 1-and-2 count on New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, Herget did something of an experiment.

“I knew that he knew I was going to throw a breaking ball, so why not throw a fastball,” Herget said on Wednesday.

Herget then threw a fastball, but not his normal two-seam fastball. He threw his first four-seam fastball of the season. The pitch was up and away, and Judge swung through it, for a strikeout.

“I really got behind that one and just kind of let it ride,” Herget said. “Just a sell-out pitch. We were up three (runs). Let’s just see if we can sneak it by him. It worked.”

Herget then retired left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo, completing a 24-pitch outing in which he worked two perfect innings, with two strikeouts.

“Last night was a good outing for me to build on, give me a lot of confidence,” Herget said. “Obviously I finished a lot of pitches yesterday and I was really pretty fired up after that outing.”

It was a performance that Herget needed after he’d brought a 6.35 ERA to the mound. Although he had been one of the Angels’ best relievers in 2022, this season was off to a shaky start.

Herget said part of the issue was hitters being too prepared for his breaking balls. He throws a tight slider and a curveball most of the time, with occasional changeups and two-seam fastballs.

After what he did on Tuesday, Herget suggested that he needs to keep hitters honest a little more with fastballs.

“I’ll pick my spots, especially to certain hitters, guys like Judge, really good hitters who have great approaches,” Herget said. “I need to think more the way they think and go from there.”

Herget said the bigger issue he’s faced this season has been not having enough conviction in the breaking pitches he did throw.

“It’s just more of finishing the pitch,” Herget said. “I was kind of like guiding balls in there. Just a little bit of tweaks here and there can change a pitch drastically. So I think it was more pitching with conviction versus before it was like ‘let’s throw a strike.’”

SUAREZ STAYS

Although José Suarez has a 9.26 ERA through his first three starts, Manager Phil Nevin said the left-hander will remain in the rotation for his next turn.

The Angels sent Suarez down after four bad starts to begin last season. The difference now is that Suarez has no options, so the Angels need to keep him in the majors.

“He’s going through some stuff right now,” Nevin said. “The same things as last year. He had to go down and work on some things. That’s not going to happen this time. I trust him. He’s tough. He cares. It’s eating at him that he’s not performing the way he wants to. Coming off the way he finished the season last year, he’s expecting greatness this year and it’s not happening. It’s frustrating for him to get there, but he’ll get there.”

NOTES

Infielder David Fletcher arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and he will begin playing for the Triple-A Bees as soon as he’s ready, General Manager Perry Minasian said. Fletcher, who was outrighted to Triple-A on Monday, did not do any baseball activities for a few days because he was on waivers and traveling. …

Infielder Luis Rengifo has not been in the lineup for the past three games in a row. Although Rengifo failed to execute a couple of plays over the weekend – either missed signs or “miscommunication,” as Nevin said on Wednesday, he was not being benched as a punishment, Nevin said. Rengifo will start on Thursday, against a left-hander. “Luis is a big part of (the team),” Nevin said. …

Catcher Logan O’Hoppe had the day off on Tuesday. O’Hoppe came into the day ranked fifth in the majors with 124 innings played behind the plate. He has started 14 of the Angels’ 18 games. …

Left-hander Ky Bush, one of the Angels’ top pitching prospects, has been pitching in games in Arizona. Bush, who missed the start of the season with an oblique injury, will report to Double-A as soon as he’s built his pitch count up enough. …

Right-hander Chase Silseth was pulled early from his start at Triple-A because of a blister. Silseth had not allowed a run in five innings, lowering his ERA to 0.90 through his first four starts at Salt Lake.

UP NEXT

Angels (LHP Patrick Sandoval, 1-0, 1.23) at Yankees (LHP Nestor Cortes, 2-0, 2.60), Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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