The Los Angeles Angels had a chance to come out strong in the second half of the season, needing to catch up in the wild card race. In their series opener to the Seattle Mariners, it was a less than ideal start for Andrew Heaney. Starting pitching has been an issue all season long, and Friday night reinforced that same issue.
Heaney, over 4.0 innings pitched, gave up four runs on six hits. He allowed the Mariners to manufacture runs and hit the long ball, with Kyle Seager putting the icing on the cake, giving the team a 4-1 lead in the fourth. By the bottom of the eighth inning, the Angels deficit ballooned to 6-1, meaning they’d need a miracle to come back.
They almost did it, scoring one run in the eighth and three runs in the ninth. This included a two-run single by Shohei Ohtani to make it 6-5. However, with Phil Gosselin at the plate and the winning run at first base, he lined out and the game ended. The Angels are now 45-45 and a game farther out of the playoff picture.
Heaney was extremely disappointed in himself, saying that if he had performed even slightly better, this game goes a different way, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“If I have a halfway decent start there, the rally we have in the ninth that comes up a little short, doesn’t come up short,” Heaney said. “Shohei has a walk-off and we’re celebrating a win to start the second half.”
Heaney is now up to a 5.56 ERA on the season, which is the worst of his career in seasons where he had at least 10 starts on the mound. He has a career-worst WHIP under the same parameters as well.
This is not the season he or the Angels hoped he would be having, as starting pitching has been a killer for a team with one of the league’s best offenses. While it can’t all be put on the pitching — the Angels defense has been streaky at best — nights like this illustrate a larger issue for the Halos.
They now have just 12 games to decide if they’re going to go for a playoff run this year, or trade away expiring players for assets in hopes of contending down the line.
Maddon hoping Angels catch fire
They are running out of time to do so, but Maddon hopes that the Angels can catch fire before the team needs to make any deicisons on buying or selling. Winning their first game out of the break would have been great for that, but now they’ll have to make up for that loss in some way.