Dodgers News: Andrew Heaney Focused On Pitching To Strengths

Andrew Heaney continued his impressive season with a dominant performance against the Milwaukee Brewers to help the Los Angeles Dodgers clinch a season series win.

Prior to the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the goal would be to get Heaney through five innings, but the veteran southpaw turned in six by the end of his night.

“Feeling better, trying to get deeper into games, be a bit more pitch efficient,” Heaney said. “Just stay away from a couple of mistakes that I made the last two outings that have cost us big time with the home run ball. But just kind of staying the course, I guess.”

Heaney struck out 10 batters for the second consecutive game, which he credited to the effectiveness of his pitch mix.

“I think getting the slider going a little bit has kind of helped the heater, and vice versa,” Heaney said. “So just been trying to stay to my strengths, I guess.”

With his slider, Heaney got the Brewers’ batters to swing and miss 53% of the time, an increase of nearly 10% from his season mark that has been trending upward in his two prior starts.

“He was really good,” said Austin Barnes, who was behind the plate during the outing. “His fastball had a lot of life on it, got a lot of foul balls, put him in really good counts and then he threw the slider really well today too.

“He rebounded really well after that first inning off the homer. Went deep into the game, got a lot of swing and miss, I think he had 10 punchies, so it was a really good start.”

Heaney’s fastball also had one of his highest swing and miss rates this year at 35%. And just like with his slider, this was another 10% increase from his season average. “He’s got so much deception,” Barnes said.

“That fastball seems to rise, so it’s kind of a unique fastball. And he’s throwing his slider with a lot of confidence to get them off the fastball speed we can. He throws that ball at the top of the zone really, really well. It’s not a fun AB when a heater is in on your hands all day. He’s throwing the ball really well.”

Dodgers teammates confident in Heaney

Following the outing, Heaney’s ERA now sits at 1.94 and he’s averaging 13.39 strikeouts per nine innings. Although it has come in just 41.2 innings due to multiple shoulder issues, the 31-year-old has been elite on the mound just one season removed from being designated for assignment by the New York Yankees with a 5.83 ERA.

“He’s been unbelievable for us all year,” Trea Turner said. “It’s not just been lately. Early on he was really good, and in the last five or six starts, he’s been really good. He’s just got good stuff and he knows what he’s doing.

“It seems like he’s got 10 punchouts every game and you don’t even know until you look at the scoreboard and you realize, ‘Oh, wow. He’s got 10 strikeouts.’ He’s just cruising, doing his thing and he’s going to pitch big innings for us this last month and when we go into the playoffs.”

Make sure to follow Dodger Blue on Instagram! It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!