The Youth Brigade
The Angels youth starters are going to be featured heavily in this series once more with Suarez, Sandoval, and Canning taking the mound in the series with Andrew Heaney leading the charge. Just a year ago Heaney was a staff leader with his 4.15 ERA in 180 IP, yet this season has seen him struggle with inconsistency more than ever before. He hasn’t been healthy enough to pitch a steady stream of innings in 2019 (49.2 IP) with much success (4.89 ERA), though it should be noted that his strikeout rate jumped a full point and a half from 2018 to 2019 (10.5 K/9 in 2019). He’s only 28 years of age, so this doesn’t seem to be a point of regression, it simply seems to be that Heaney is suffering through a rough season as is most other Angels starters.
Heaney has showed great success in the past, but as of now he’s struggling to offer consistency in his role. His last outing against the Red Sox saw him throw 72 pitches in just 3.2 IP, though he did strike out 4 and allow just one run. That isn’t the point however, the point is that there was once again no help offered to the bullpen as they were forced to pitch through 6.1 innings in Heaneys start, though the team did come away with a victory in that outing.
Patrick Sandoval has shown off prime stuff in his time in the bigs, though his start against the Red Sox wasn’t as sharp as planned. His command got away from him, leading to four walks, so we’ll be looking to see Sandoval regain a handle on his control and pitch his way through another strong outing like he did against the Reds. On the other hand Jose Suarez has not shown any signs of improvement and just gets battered day in and day out so that is unlikely to change here. His last start saw him give up 6 runs in 3 innings of work against the Pirates, so don’t look for things to improve here. At this point the Angels are just trying to survive through the season.
With Griffin Canning taking the last day we can expect some semblance of quality although Canning has been as inconsistent as the rest of the staff. Even though he can flash ace potential his problem is switching up his approach as the game goes on and letting hitters beat him without much trouble later into games. Canning is notorious for breaking down after facing hitters the first time through the lineup, so if he’s going to be seeking improvement in this start he’s going to need to keep hitters on their toes by switching up his pitching approach as the game moves forward.