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Game #74 Preview: Heaney vs Sanchez

Angels (37-37) vs Blue Jays (26-47)

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays will attempt to end their struggles against the Angels tonight, still looking for their first win against them in 2019 in this their 6th attempt. Tonight’s contest gets underway at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Aaron Sanchez will head to the mound for the 16th time this season, looking to bounce back from a brutal start his last time out and improve upon his 3-8 record with a 5.04 ERA. In Houston last Friday, Sanchez allowed 8 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, allowing 2 home runs and striking out 4. It was the second time in his career that he allowed 8 runs in a game, the first time being 2 years ago also against Houston, although 3 of those runs were unearned. The good news is that he was able to bounce back from that one, when he allowed just an unearned run in 6 much better innings. So maybe there’s hope tonight.

Sanchez faced the Angels in their series back at the beginning of June. In that one, he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits, allowing a pair of walks and a home run while only striking out 2 over 4 innings. Certainly not a good start, but considering he allowed 11 baserunners in 4 innings, the damage could have been a lot more. Kole Calhoun is the one who touched him up for the home run.

Angels’ Starter

The Angels will send left hander Andrew Heaney to the mound, making just his 5th start of 2019. The start to his season was delayed due to elbow inflammation and other related elbow issues, but he has been back in the rotation for a few weeks now and the elbow problem seems to have been resolved. Good news for the kid who missed the majority of 2016 and 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Heaney‘s first 4 starts this season have been a mixed bag of results. He has struck out 30 batters in 21.2 innings, including 28 in his first 16.2 innings. He only struck out 2 over 5 innings his last time out against the Rays, but that start also marked the first time this year he didn’t allow 2 home runs. He instead allowed just 1 run on 2 hits, although he did walk 3. Prior to that start, his walk and strikeout rates were amazing, but his home runs were really bad.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

Billy McKinney is now back up with the ball club, but with the lefty on the mound, I don’t imagine he’ll be playing in the game today. If Teoscar Hernandez can’t go again today, I would imagine we’ll see Brandon Drury in RF with Randal Grichuk in CF.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is now 1-13 with just a single and 4 strikeouts since being hit in the hand last Friday night. One might start to worry that something isn’t quite right with him.

Angels’ Lineup

The Blue Jays pitchers were able to keep Mike Trout hitless last night, the second time in 5 games they have been able to do that to him. It took a walk and a bean ball to get there this time though.

Rookie Luis Rengifo made an error at SS last night, his second at the position in just 3 games played there. Andrelton Simmons is expected to be back within the next week, and given the overall defense the Angels have gotten in his stead, they’ll be happy to have him. In the 275 innings of non-Simmons defense, the Angels have gotten -2 DRS/-0.7 UZR at SS. That’s a far cry from arguably the best defensive SS ever who regularly patrols that position. Simmons also went 3-3 in his first rehab game last night, so he might be looking to rejoin the Angels even this weekend if his bat is ready.

On the whole, the Angels’ offense has looked pretty good for the month of June. This graphic is from yesterday, but still impressive (just don’t compare them to the Braves).

Yesterday’s Heroes

Whit Merrifield went 3-4 yesterday, launching a pair of home runs, a single and a sac fly, driving in 6 runs en route to the Monster Bat award. His efforts really helped carry the Royals, as they shut out the Mariners 9-0.

Homer Bailey picks up the Pitcher of the Day in this one as well, as he made it through 7.2 shutout innings. He allowed 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 6. He extended his scoreless inning streak to 16.2 innings.

Max Kepler had one hell of a night at the plate in the Red Sox-Twins 17 inning marathon. He had a game tying single in the 8th inning, a game tying home run in the 13th, and a game winning single in the 17th. That all adds up to a super impressive .847 WPA and the WPA King title in the Twins 4-3 win.

Find the Link

Find the link between Heaney and Tyler Skaggs.

Stats are courtesy of Fangraphs