I absolutely love Andrew Heaney in this spot today.
Heaney’s 5.25 ERA and 1.13 WHIP aren’t great. However, he’s due for some positive regression, as he’s posted a 3.36 xERA and a 3.00 xFIP. Moreover, if you exclude two horrific starts against the Mariners and White Sox, Heaney has allowed just three runs on seven hits over 17 2/3 innings.
Today is an awesome matchup for Heaney. Heaney’s biggest strength is missing bats, as he ranks among the top 20% of pitchers in whiff rate and chase rate, and he’s striking out a ridiculous 35.1% of batters faced this season.
The Rays have not been making contact recently. Over the past two weeks, the Rays have struck out on 28.6% of their plate appearances, second-most in baseball.
Meanwhile, when the Rays do make contact, they haven’t been making solid contact. During the same time frame, the Rays have the fourth-highest ground ball rate (48.6%) and the 10th-highest fly ball rate (35.6%). That adds up to the lowest line-drive rate (15.8%), which helps explain why the Rays have posted just a .203 batting average and a .627 OPS over the past two weeks.
Moreover, during the past two weeks and against lefties, the Rays are batting just .181 with a .610 OPS while striking out in 34.3% of plate appearances. I’m expecting the left-handed Heaney to mow down the Rays’ lineup today.
The Rays will have reliever Collin McHugh start the game, but he’ll most likely serve as an opener of some sort.
I fully believe that the Angels will avoid a disastrous four-game sweep on the back of Heaney’s pitching. I played the Angels ML at -121 on PointsBet but would take caution in playing them at worse than -125 / By T.McGrath