The Angels technically start their 2020 season on Friday night in Oakland against the Athletics, but for all intents and purposes the season began on Thursday, thanks to Mike Trout.
Oakland ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️!— Mike Trout (@MikeTrout) July 24, 2020
Trout sending out travel tweets is the surest sign of normalcy in a year that has been anything but normal.
In 75 career road games against the A’s, Trout is hitting .280/.370/.549, which qualifies the Oakland Coliseum as one of his toughest parks. He also has 18 home runs there, his second-most in any road park, behind only Seattle.
Trout doesn’t have a home run in 12 career plate appearances against Frankie Montas, who starts for the A’s on Friday night, going 1-for-8 with two walks and two hit by pitches.
Friday night’s game (7 p.m. PT) is televised both locally by Fox Sports West and nationally by ESPN.
Andrew Heaney gets the start for the Angels, making his first career opening day start. He’s lasted long in both career starts in Oakland (seven innings in 2015, eight innings in 2018, allowing three runs in both games), which is something that was sorely missed last year with the Angels.
In 2019, the Angels had a starter pitch six innings or longer 33 times, the fewest in the majors. They had a starter last at least seven innings 10 times, also the fewest.
Heaney was originally scheduled for one final tune-up start in an intrasqaud game last Saturday in Anaheim, but after waking up with back stiffness that start was scratched. Earlier this week, Heaney said he’s built up to at least 85 pitches.
“I thought it was the smart thing to do to not really press it, trying to go out there and throw six innings,” Heaney said via conference call Saturday. “Ultimately I need to go for the 60-plus games we have this year.”
Heaney was tied for the Angels staff lead last year, averaging 5.3 innings per start. His six starts of six innings or longer was second on the team to Griffin Canning, who starts Monday.
After Heaney in the opener, the Angels are starting right-handed pitchers in the final three games of the series:
- Saturday (1:10 p.m.) : Dylan Bundy
- Sunday (1:10 p.m.): Shohei Ohtani
- Monday (12:40 p.m.): Griffin Canning
The Angels are 13-17 in Oakland in the last three seasons, and play the A’s on the road in seven of their 10 matchups this season.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Sports West, ESPN
Streaming: Fox Sports Go, Watch ESPN