ANAHEIM — Even if the Angels’ late hot streak isn’t enough to overcome their miserable start, perhaps some of what’s going on right now can help them in the future.
Joe Maddon suggested that Andrew Heaney’s performance in Saturday night’s 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers was just kind of game.
Heaney gave up three runs in his first eight pitches, but then realized what the Rangers were doing, changed his approach and pitched into the seventh inning, allowing time for the hitters to come back in the game. The Angels finally took the lead on a Mike Trout go-ahead RBI in the eighth.
“When you give up the number like that early, and your team is still in the pennant race, you can’t cave in,” Maddon said. “He reinvented the game on the fly… I really do believe moving forward, he’ll think about this at different moments in games next year or the year after, where it might not go so well in the beginning but ‘What do I have to do the keep my ballclub in the game?’ He’s able to do that.”
As a result of Heaney’s bounceback, the Angels won for the 11th time in their last 16 games, which has kept them with a heartbeat in the race for a playoff spot. The Houston Astros won on Saturday night so the Angels remain 3-1/2 games back, with just seven games to play.
Any loss is crushing to the Angels hopes at this point, and this one certainly seemed to be headed in that direction when Heaney allowed three runs within the first four batters.
And they were loud runs.
Leadoff hitter Leody Tavares hit a homer on the second pitch of the game. Nick Solak ripped a single up the middle. Isiah Kiner-Falefa drilled a ball 103 mph that Trout snagged in center field.
Rougned Odor then blasted a 434-foot homer down the right-field line, driving in two more.
“I mean they made it pretty obvious in the first thing they were hunting heaters,” Heaney said. “I didn’t do a good job of locating a few of them. Walking off the field after the first me and (catcher Max Stassi) kind of talked about a few things and had to change up a little bit of how I pitch based on the way they were kind of approaching the game.”
Heaney flipped a switch and went to throwing more breaking balls, and he did not allow another run through 6-2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Heaney has a 4.02 ERA this season, but his 67 strikeouts and 17 walks in 62-2/3 innings suggest that he’s pitched better than that.
Meanwhile, the Angels got back into the game, starting with another moment that could hopefully pay dividends down the road.
Shohei Ohtani blasted a homer in the second, in his first at-bat in a week.
“Just a little reboot,” Maddon said. “He did some work and came out with a lot of confidence. That’s what everyone has been seeing the last couple years. Balls struck like that. Better balance in the batter’s box. A refurbished attitude. It was wonderful. He’s such a good guy. We needed that. And he provided that.
Ohtani said he got suggestions from Maddon and several coaches, but mostly what he changed what his stance.
“The biggest I worked on last week was just the way I’m standing in the plate and my vision and how I can see the pitcher,” Ohtani said through his interpreter.
In Ohtani’s next trip to the plate, in the fifth, he singled and scored on a double by Taylor Ward. Ward came home on a two-out single by David Fletcher, tying the game.
Heaney, Noe Ramirez and Mike Mayers then shut down the Rangers for the rest of the night. Mayers retired all six batters he faced. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11 games, including retiring 35 of 38 batters in the last eight games, locking up a desperately needed victory.
“We got to win out,” Heaney said. “We’ve got to win every game and that’s how everybody feels. That’s how you should feel all the time, but we got our backs against the wall so we know we got to win.”آموزش سئو