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OC Register: Angels reliever Jimmy Herget rediscovers his form


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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jimmy Herget is on the way to finishing his season much better than he started it.

The Angels right-hander has not allowed a run in nine innings since returning to the majors at the beginning of the month, with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

It’s dropped Herget’s ERA for the season down to 3.81.

“It’s obviously been a lot better,” Herget said Thursday, a day after he pitched two scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Multiple times this year, things didn’t do the way that they should have. It’s obviously good to end with a good last month and head into the offseason.”

Manager Phil Nevin said one of the keys for Herget has been his performance against lefties. He’s faced 15 lefties in September, and he’s retired 11 of them, with two hits and two walks. Lefties hit .391 against him earlier in the season.

One of the two hits Herget allowed to a lefty this month was a game-tying single by Seattle Mariners switch-hitter Cal Raleigh on a curveball that was six inches below the strike zone.

“He’s throwing more strikes, and he’s kept it out of the middle,” Nevin said. “He’s been better against lefties. I think that’s the biggest key for him.”

Herget, 30, was one of the Angels’ best relievers last year, with a 2.48 ERA in 69 innings. He was in line to be a key piece of the bullpen this year, but he began the season with a 6.23 ERA in his first eight games and was sent to Triple-A.

Since then, Herget has bounced between the minors and the majors. Things seemed to begin clicking for him in the second half. Since July 15, Herget had a 3.31 ERA at Triple-A, with 19 strikeouts and five walks in 16 1/3 innings.

Herget said there’s been no particular change in his pitch usage or grips, just the normal refinements of a season.

“I think mechanically I’m just pretty fluid right now,” Herget said. “Everything seems to be clicking. A lot of my pitches are doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re all getting down and they’re missing the barrel. That’s the most important thing.”

Herget will still have an option next season, so the Angels have nothing to lose by keeping him as part of the bullpen mix over the winter. Herget may end up qualifying for arbitration this winter, but his salary would still be under $1 million.

ROTATION PLANS

Left-hander Tyler Anderson had his turn pushed back from Friday to Sunday because of some knee discomfort, Nevin said.

Nevin said Anderson was well enough to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, so they don’t believe it’s serious, but they nonetheless wanted to give him a couple extra days.

The Angels will recall right-hander Davis Daniel to pitch Friday, although they may use an opener in front of him. The Angels have not announced the roster move they will make to clear a spot for Daniel.

The Angels also may use an opener before left-hander Kenny Rosenberg on Saturday.

REUNITED

Outfielder Brett Phillips visited Wednesday with Chloe Grimes, a 10-year-old cancer survivor who he met when he was playing with the Rays last year.

Phillips hit a home run while wearing a wristband she had given him before the game. The two were honored together for their inspirational story in January at the Musial Awards. The organization named for St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial honors sports figures who embody “class and character.”

“It was good to see her,” Phillips said. “She’s doing a lot better, which is good. She had the same smile she had on her face even when she was sick. It was very nice to see her and her family come out and support. It was a special moment and definitely ranks at top in my career, next to the World Series.”

NOTES

Catcher Logan O’Hoppe was behind the plate for a day game after a night game Thursday, an example of how the Angels are trying to get O’Hoppe as many games as possible after he missed four months with a shoulder injury. O’Hoppe started nine games in a row, and 26 of 32 since he came off the injured list. “I think he’s someone that can handle a lot of the bulk behind the plate going forward,” Nevin said. “I really want to see him catch some volume since he missed some time year.” …

Rookie first baseman Nolan Schanuel got a routine day off Thursday. Schanuel was just drafted out of college in July, so this is his first season playing all the way through the summer and into September. He has reached base safely in each of his first 24 big-league games, an ongoing Angels record. The major league record is 47 games, set by Alvin Davis of the Seattle Mariners in 1984.

UP NEXT

Angels (TBD) vs. Twins (RHP Pablo López, 10-8, 3.58), 5:10 p.m. Friday, Target Field, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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