It looked as if Saturday night was going to be a very short outing for Andrew Heaney. After the first four batters of the inning, the Rangers had already scored three runs. Those would be the only runs they’d score over the remainder of the game.
“I’ve been around some really good pitchers where I’ve seen them give up a big first inning and they don’t cave,” Joe Maddon said following the game. “That was a real growth moment for him, that was spectacular to watch.”
Heaney really settled down, as he ended up giving the Angels 6 2⁄3 runs. After allowing three runs on three hits to the first four batters he faced, he allowed zero runs on only three hits through the remainder of the game. He also finished with eight strikeouts, tied for the second most he’s had in a game this season.
“They made it obvious in the first inning that they were hunting heaters,” Heaney said following the game. “I had to change up how I pitched based on how they were approaching the game. Once we did that I got the game moving quicker, getting some swings and misses and some early outs.”
It sure worked, as Texas was unable to respond and adjust.
“When you give up a number like that early and your team is still in a race, he got away from the predominant fastball usage,” Maddon said. “He made the adjustment, the adaptation. The game didn’t get too quick. I loved it. This is something from him to learn from. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he made the adjustment and committed to us winning the game. He’ll think about this where it might not go so well early on and he’ll think what he can do to help his ball club win the game.”
Heaney really had his curveball working last night, as it was arguably the best it had looked all year. He said that it’s been something he’s been fighting all season, saying it’s been either a hit or miss.
“Tonight I was able to land it for strikes,” he said. “Really only made a few mistakes with it . I needed it tonight, made an emphasis on in tonight, aside from the first, once I got more comfortable it made a big difference.”