Dodgers @ Angels August 15, 2020: Buehler faces off against an old friend

Clayton Kershaw shoved last night and Cody Bellinger remembered how to hit, leading the Dodgers to sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since the first week of the season. Today, the Dodgers look for a season-long four-game winning streak and their 15th win of the season.

6:40 p.m. Anaheim
RF Betts SS Fletcher
SS Seager (L) 1B La Stella (L)
DH Turner CF Trout
CF Pollock 3B Rendon
1B Bellinger (L) DH Ohtani (L)
LF Taylor LF Ward
3B Muncy (L) RF Goodwin (L)
2B Hern√°ndez C Stassi
C Barnes 2B Rengifo (S)
P Buehler (R) P Heaney (L)

Walker Buehler makes his fourth start of the season tonight. After a delayed start to the season, Buehler had his longest outing of 2020 last time out, both in innings pitched (5 2/3) and pitches (87). Buehler allowed two runs and only one hit against the Giants, but issued four walks while striking out six.

Buehler is making only his second career start against the Angels and his first in Anaheim. Buehler saw the Angels in July 2018 and held them to two runs on six hits in five innings. He allowed two solo dongs to Kole Calhoun, who is a Diamondback now.

Bueher’s seen a slight dip in velo early on, with his fastball averaging 95.9 MPH this year as opposed to 96.5 MPH in 2019. He still hasn’t allowed a hit on his fastball (according to Baseball Savant) this season.

The Angels send their Opening Day starter Andrew Heaney to the mound. Heaney is the owner of one of the all-time great old friend tweets.

Heaney was traded to the Dodgers, along with Austin Barnes, Enrique Hernandez (and Chris Hatcher) in the Dee Gordon trade of 2014. Not even hours later, Heaney was sent down the 5 to Anaheim for Howie Kendrick. Heaney has yet to turn in an ace-like season, with a career 4.43 ERA/4.36 FIP in 457 Major League innings. He has some promising peripherals so far in 2020, with a 2.60 ERA and only one homer allowed in 19 innings.

Heaney allowed four runs in his first three starts of the season, but got roughed up last time out in Texas. He allowed five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings against the Rangers, increasing his ERA nearly two full runs.

Today marks Heaney’s fifth career start against the Dodgers and first since 2018. He made back-to-back starts against LA in 2018, allowing three runs in seven innings in Anaheim and allowing two runs in 6 1/2 innings in Los Angeles. Heaney struck out 10 Dodgers in the first start and six in the second start, and allowed one homer in each game (one to Yasiel Puig, one to Chris Taylor).

Heaney is a three-pitch pitcher, throwing a sinking fastball, curveball and changeup. His fastball has averaged just over 90 MPH so far this season, but has averaged closer to 92 MPH in his previous Major League seasons.

Max Muncy returns to the lineup after having the day off yesterday. He starts at third, with Justin Turner DHing. Bellinger starts at first with AJ Pollock starting in center and Taylor starting in left. For the Angels, Jo Adell and Albert Pujols both sit today. Nearly-Dodger Luis Rengifo gets the start at second.

——

The Dodgers finally placed Will Smith on the IL, meaning the chances of seeing Matt Beaty behind the plate are dwindling.

Smith will be eligible to return next Sunday against the Rockies. Keibert Ruiz, Dustin’s No. 6 prospect in his preseason rankings, has been called up for the first time in his career. Ruiz will likely make his debut tomorrow, with a day game following a night game. Ruiz will wear number 25, last worn by David Freese.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 and will be shown on Sportsnet LA and Fox Sports West.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.