In what has been a lost season both personally and for the team, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney is looking to finish strong and give himself some optimism heading into 2020.
Heaney (3-3. 3.95 ERA) will oppose the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, and he hopes to continue the recent success he's had.
In his past six starts, the lefty is 2-1 with three no-decisions, a 2.38 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 34 innings. Twenty-four of those strikeouts came in his two most recent games -- 14 in eight innings against the Texas Rangers (with no walks) on Aug. 20, and 10 in six innings against Texas again on Tuesday.
But it has been a long road to his recent successes. Heaney, who led the team with 30 starts last season, missed the first two months of this season with elbow inflammation, then missed another 3 1/2 weeks in July and August with shoulder inflammation.
Making matters worse, of course, was the death of his close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. And the Angels, as a club, have been out of the playoff race for several weeks.
For Heaney, it just comes down to his own physical health.
"First of all, when I'm healthy, I know how good I can be," he recently told reporters. "That's No. 1. That's been my issue for a few years now. That's the first thing, having the confidence to go out there and not worry about your arm flying off is a pretty big thing."
Heaney has faced the Red Sox once this season, giving up one run and three hits, but only went 3 2/3 innings because it was his first start after missing the time with the shoulder issue and was on a limited pitch count.
In his career against Boston, Heaney is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in three starts.
Left-hander David Price (7-5, 4.36) will start for Boston, his first start since missing four weeks because of a cyst on his left wrist. His last time out, Price had his worst start of the season, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Aug. 4
"It's important," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of getting Price back. "This is a guy, we know when he gets on a roll when he's healthy, he's one of the best lefties in the big leagues. Obviously we didn't like that he missed time, but you never know, it might actually help him out to finish strong and take us where we want to go. He looks good, he's in good spirits and he's healthy, so we'll see how he goes."
Price has not faced the Angels this season, but he is 7-7 with a 3.34 ERA and one shutout in 17 career starts. Price has had success against Mike Trout, holding the Angels star center fielder to a .192 average (5 for 26) with no extra-base hits and 11 strikeouts.
--Field Level Media
Health brings success for Angels' Heaney; Red Sox next test
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