LA Angels pitching on display Monday vs. Reds

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03: Andrew Heaney /

The LA Angels biggest question marks this season is the health of their pitching staff.  One of the biggest question marks for the Angels is lefty Andrew Heaney.  Monday, Heaney took a big step forward.

For the LA Angels when they traded second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers and got left-handed starter Andrew Heaney they were hoping they got a top of the rotation starter. Heaney had a very good first year going 6-4 with a 3.49 ERA in 2015. However, in 2016 Heaney made one start and was done for the season due to a torn UCL in his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John Surgery.

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Heaney missed the entire 2016 season after the injury, but his rehab went ahead of schedule and Heaney was able to comeback and make five starts, but was largely ineffective.  Did Heaney come back too soon? Maybe.  So this Spring Heaney went in trying to prove that he could be the pitcher the Angels were hoping for when they made the trade.

So far this spring Heaney has been lights out.  Heaney is 1-0 pitching five innings in two starts giving up four hits and no runs with no walks and six strikeouts.  On Monday, Heaney pitched three shutout innings with five strikeouts.  It is too early to get excited about Heaney, but it is nevertheless encouraging.

Heaney will continued to be stretched out over his next few starts and then we will see how he does.  If he can step up it will give the Angels rotation a big boost.

Another encouraging performance was turned in by Parker Bridwell.  Bridwell had struggled in his first two starts giving up five runs in only three innings (20.25 ERA). On Monday Bridwell pitched three scoreless innings striking out two batters while giving up two walks and two hits.

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Bridwell has not started a game yet this Spring instead he has come in as a reliever all three times.  Is this an omen to what Bridwell’s future with Angels is at least 2018.  Possibly.  The Angels have nine potential starters and only five to six spots.

Whatever his role will be, Bridwell had to be happy with his performance.  Felix Pena a potential bullpen candidate also pitched a strong inning of relief. On the offensive side utility infielder candidate Colin Walsh continued his hot hitting.  Walsh went two for three with three RBI’s and is now batting .389 with two homers and seven RBI’s.

Next: Rene Rivera is the back-up catcher so far this Spring

Shohei Ohtani also got three plate appearances, but he did record a hit.  That was one of the few negatives coming out of Surprise, AZ today. We will see what happens tomorrow.