Angels’ Heaney looks to shut down league-leading A’s

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Andrew Heaney will be on the mound to start for the Los Angeles Angels Friday night in the series opener against the Athletics in Oakland, taking a “glass is half-full” mentality into the game.

Heaney (1-1, 4.74 ERA) was the Angels starter on Opening Day but things have not gone well for the left-hander or the club in his starts. The Angels are 1-4 in Heaney’s five starts, including a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers his most recent time out.

But Heaney said something might have clicked for him in that start. He gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in the first three innings. But he managed to pitch into the sixth inning, and gave up no runs, no hits and one walk in his final 2 2/3 innings.

“I think the last three innings I started to kind of find a little bit of rhythm,” Heaney said. “Definitely did some things better that I hadn’t done in the last couple (appearances). But still, I want to win games. I don’t want moral victories.”

It wouldn’t hurt if Heaney got some support, not so much from the Angels offense, but rather, the Angels bullpen. In his five starts, Heaney has allowed 13 runs while the bullpen has surrendered 20 runs. Heaney, though, could help the bullpen by pitching deeper into games — he’s averaging just under five innings per start.

In that Opening Day start against Oakland, Heaney got a no-decision after allowing one run on two hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked none in one of his better performances of the season.

That game, like Friday’s, will be in Oakland, where the A’s have been very good, not just this season, but for the past few. Going back to the beginning of the 2018 season, only the New York Yankees and Houston Astros have better home records in the American League.

The A’s, owners of the best record in the American League, are 11-3 this season at RingCentral Coliseum.

“I think it’s just more the routine at home,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We started out at Summer Camp here and had our first few games here. Then you go on the road and it’s a little different feeling. We’re going have a stretch pretty soon when we play a lot of games at home. That’s going to be an important stretch. But I just think we feel pretty comfortable here.”

Right-hander Mike Fiers (2-1, 5.96) will start Friday for the A’s, making his sixth start of the year and third against the Angels. In the first two, Fiers got a no-decision and a loss, giving up nine runs on 14 hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings.

He suffered his only loss of the season in his most recent start against the Angels, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings on Aug. 11. Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin and Jason Castro each homered off Fiers in that game. Fiers has allowed seven home runs in all, second most in the American League (Detroit’s Matthew Boyd has allowed eight).

–Field Level Media

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