Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney was on pace to have an incredible night through the first two innings against the Chicago White Sox. He retired the first seven batters he saw, three via the strikeout, before finally allowing a baserunner in the top of the third.
From there, things went downhill quickly. Heaney allowed back-to-back-singles, then later a walk to load the bases for 2020 AL MVP Jose Abreu. On the very first pitch Abreu saw, he hit a ball 385 feet to left-center field for a grand slam, giving the White Sox a 4-1 lead that they would not lose for the rest of the night.
Heaney was removed from the game in the fourth after allowing his first three batters to get on base. All three would end up scoring. In total, he gave up seven runs in 3.0 innings pitched. Heaney was hard on himself afterwards, saying he failed to give the team a chance to win, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“Tonight did not go well,” Heaney said. “I didn’t give us a chance to win. But that’s something I need to process tonight and tomorrow and come out and use what I learned to put together a plan for the next start.”
Part of the reason things went haywire is Heaney’s loss of faith in his fastball. His first time through the order, he threw 40 pitches, 28 of them fastballs. He retired seven straight within that span. From then on, he threw just four fastballs in 17 pitches, giving up all seven of his runs in that time.
He added that he felt he “got a little tentative and backed myself into a corner. I hadn’t really showed I could throw the slider down and off the plate and then you’re getting into fastball-changeup territory, and I probably leaned a little more on the changeup when I should have mixed it up more.”
Luckily, it’s just the second game of the season. Heaney will have plenty more starts to try and fix the issues that arose on Friday night. If his fastball can reach the velocity it did against the White Sox, then he simply needs to have more faith in that pitch.
The Angels have only officially determined the starters for the remainder of the White Sox series as well as their two-game stretch against the Houston Astros. If the order of the six starters stays the same, Heaney’s next start should be Friday, Apr. 9 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani homer in loss
It was a rough night for most of the pitching staff, but it was a great night at the plate for the Angels. Both Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani hit home runs en route to scoring eight for the night. Sadly, that wasn’t enough, as the Halos picked up their first loss of the season, 12-8.