Andrew Heaney was one of the main faces of a Los Angeles Angels starting rotation that struggled mightily in 2020 and years prior. However, with the introduction of a six-man rotation, the Angels were hopeful that it would allow players like Heaney to perform more consistently.
After all six pitchers got their first start, Heaney was the only Angels starter to give up more than four earned runs. In 3.0 innings pitched against the Chicago White Sox, Heaney allowed seven runs, giving him a 21.00 ERA through one start.
Because of this, it was pivotal that Heaney have a great outing on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, as the other five starters were all solid. He delivered in a big way, and was happy about what he had accomplished, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I’m happy that I pitched well enough and the guys obviously are scoring runs, so we can finally have a little bit of a comfortable game today,” Heaney said. “Not the nail-biters we’ve been playing.”
In 6.0 innings pitched, Heaney threw a gem of a game. He gave up zero runs and just three hits while striking out nine batters. Heaney’s performance helped lead the Angels to a 7-1 win, their largest of the season.
Angels manager Joe Maddon said that Heaney’s trust in his fastball will be what helps him as he progresses through this season.
“His other stuff is good, but the other stuff needs to be parceled out appropriately,” Maddon said. “The (radar gun) number only says up to 94, but the characteristics of the pitch and the jump on it are such that he could throw that on any count, to anybody.”
In Heaney’s first start, he threw 42 fastballs in 70 pitches, leaning slightly more on his slider and changeup. However, that number jumped against the Blue Jays on Friday, when he threw 62 fastballs out of 93 pitches, bringing the percentage from 60 to 66.7%.
Heaney will need to have continued faith in his fastball if he wants to be successful, as it is proving to be his best pitch in 2021. While not reaching astounding velocity numbers, it is still getting hitters to swing and miss.
Maddon credits Dylan Bundy for pitching like an ace
Heaney is starting to figure things out for the Angels. However, it is Dylan Bundy that is still the leader of the pitching staff. After an incredible 2020 season, he is continuing to have great outings in 2021, already putting up two quality starts.
Maddon credited Bundy for backing up the faith that the team put in him by making him the ace in the rotation.