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Game #8 Preview: Heaney vs Zeuch

Angels (5-2) vs Blue Jays (3-4)

Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Blue Jays will look to overcome their loss last night and put an end to their three game losing streak this evening, as they take on the Angels in game 2 of 4 at TD Ballpark in Dunedin. Gametime is again tonight at 7:07 ET.

Blue Jays’ Starter

Young right hander T.J. Zeuch will be making his second start of the young season. If it goes anything like his first one in Yankee Stadium, I think everyone will be quite happy. In that start, he went 4.0 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out 1. You would like to see more than just the single strikeout, but when you’re prone to keeping the ball on the ground and inducing weak contact, then the strikeouts aren’t quite as important.

Angels’ Starter

Andrew Heaney had the opposite experience in his first start of the season a week ago. In that one, he allowed 7 runs over 3.0+ innings, surrendering 5 hits and a pair of walks. Things started out well for Heaney though, as he retired the first 7 batters he faced to start the game. Then he proceeded to load the bases, before giving up a 2-out grand slam before getting out of the inning. He then let the first 3 batters reach in the 4th, and that was the end of his day. So after retiring the first 7, 7 of the next 9 all scored. Quite the flip.

The left handed Heaney features a fastball, curveball and changeup. His fastball is his main pitch, thrown about 60% of the time, which he throws in the low-90s. The frequency of the other two pitches depends entirely on who is at the plate. If he’s up against a lefty, he’ll never throw the changeup, making him pretty much a two pitch starter. Against righties, he’ll throw the curveball and changeup, with the curveball still seeing a bit more use. Ultimately, righties have had a lot more success in his short career, with a .333 wOBA against from righties and just a .286 wOBA against from lefties.

Blue Jays’ Lineup

I’m ready for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to move up to the 2 spot in the batting order. His bat is starting to show the immense promise that it did while he was coming up, and he’s looking more and more like the hitter he was in the Minors. Put him, the best bat on the team, in the best spot for the best bat.

With Heaney’s somewhat heavy platoon split, I wonder if this is the first day that we see Alejandro Kirk at the DH spot. He has had rather sporadic playing time and hasn’t had a chance to get consistent at bats. Today would seem like the ideal day to do it.

Angels’ Lineup

Mike Trout unsurprisingly had a great game yesterday, and will probably be a pain in T.J. Zeuch’s side today too.

Jared Walsh had a rough game last night, suffering his first hitless start of the year. Even still, he’s hitting .333/.391/.714 so far in the early going, making it very difficult for the Angels to find a reason to have Albert Pujols in the lineup. And if Pujols isn’t in the lineup, the Angels are generally a better team.

Max Stassi, who wasn’t in the game catching last night, will be out there tonight, and he’s off to a great start to his season as well. He’s hitting .364/.462/.636, and adds a bit more length to the lineup that Kurt Suzuki cannot.

Yesterday’s Heroes

There wasn’t a whole lot of offensive output, so we’ll give the Monster Bat award to a pair of batters - Mike Trout and Byron Buxton. Both hitters went 3-5 with a home run and a double, scoring twice and driving in 1 while striking out once. Trout’s Angels obviously won, while Buxton’s Twins thumped the Mariners 10-2.

For the first time in 2021, there was a 9 inning, complete game shutout. Lance Lynn went the distance, allowing just 5 hits and walking none, striking out 11 batters. It was an impressive outing, even though it was the Royals. The Pitcher of the Day helped his White Sox to the 6-0 win.

Julian Merryweather, with his 2 innings of scoreless baseball in the 9th and 10th innings, picked up the WPA King title with a .469 mark.

Find the Link

Find the link between Jared Walsh and Tyler White.

Stats retrieved from Fangraphs and Baseball Savant