|1:07 PM PT2:07 PM MT3:07 PM CT4:07 PM ET16:07 ET20:07 GMT4:07 1:07 PM MST3:07 PM EST3:37 PM VEN0:07 UAE (+1)3:07 PM CT, June 30, 2019
Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California Attendance: 37,668
Heaney, Bassitt get nods as Angels face Athletics
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Left-hander Andrew Heaney will start for the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday afternoon, but that doesn't mean Oakland A's first baseman Matt Olson will be getting the day off.
And it's not just because Olson missed 34 games early in the season after undergoing surgery on his right hand and is trying to make up for lost time. It also so happens that Olson enjoys hitting against lefties.
Olson has raked left-handers this season, batting .313 with an OPS of 1.127. Six of his 16 homers have come against lefties, hitting one homer every eight at-bats, compared to one homer every 13 at-bats against right-handers.
He's faced Heaney only twice in his career, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout and one RBI. But Olson is feeling good in the box these days, and is on pace to surpass his career-high total of 29 homers last season despite the extended time off.
"It's kind of the same feel as a couple of years ago, when he hit 27 home runs in what felt like just over half a season," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, referring to 2017 when Olson hit 24 homers in 59 games. "It's not just fastballs. He's hitting breaking balls, sits on pitches at times. The more experience he gets at the big league level, the more aware he is, and it seems like he just gets better and better."
Olson said analyzing his recent success doesn't take a rocket scientist.
"Just hitting the mistakes," he said. "I'm in a stretch where I'm not fouling off or swinging through the pitches I should be putting in play. Just trying to keep it rolling."
Like Olson, Heaney is making up for lost time. He missed the first two months of the season with an inflamed elbow, and finally got his first win of the season in his most recent start last Tuesday against Cincinnati.
Heaney is 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA in four career starts against the A's.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt will start for Oakland, hoping to give the A's some length, something he hasn't been able to do lately.
Since throwing a season-high eight innings in a victory over Detroit on May 16, Bassitt has lasted as long as six innings only once in seven starts. He has a victory in his only start against the Angels this season, and is 1-2 with a 7.47 ERA in five career games (three starts) against them.
For the Angels, the offense continues to be an asset. Pitching, and in particular, keeping the ball in the ballpark, is an issue for manager Brad Ausmus.
"We have given up too many home runs," Ausmus said. "We can't do anything about the first (84) games. But the goal is to be better at that. Not only from a starting-pitching perspective but just in general. It's usually pitch execution more than selection. Location, or missed location, that's what it boils down to."
--Field Level Media
Updated June 30, 2019