MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Los Angeles Dodgers
Date/Time: August 1, 4:05 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Andrew Heaney (5-0, 1.79) vs. Zack Greinke (9-2, 1.37)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Los Angeles -155
The Battle of Los Angeles was a pretty good Rage Against the Machine album, but the series between the Angels and Dodgers has a lot more relevance in 2015. This is a big series for both teams, with the Angels trying to chase down the Houston Astros and the Dodgers trying to fend off the San Francisco Giants. These geographic interleague rivalries are always fun series and this pitching matchup will add to the enjoyment, as Andrew Heaney takes on Zack Greinke.
The Angels were fairly quiet at the trade deadline, adding some supplementary outfield pieces like David Murphy and Shane Victorino. Sometimes a vote of confidence in the existing players is the best way to do business, though one can’t help but wonder if the Angels would have been more active had Jerry Dipoto not stepped down due to the friction between he and manager Mike Scioscia, as well as with ownership. The Dodgers were anything but quiet, but who would expect anything different? Team president Andrew Friedman has unlimited financial resources now and Farhan Zaidi is completely on board with what the former Tampa Bay Rays exec wants to do. The Dodgers added Mat Latos, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza, and Alex Wood.
Andrew Heaney seemed like a steal for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim when they grabbed him for Howie Kendrick. On the other hand, the Angels are 21st in wOBA from the second base position with one of the lowest walk rates in the league. In any event, Heaney has been dynamite in the starting rotation for the Angels and there is some extra pressure on him with CJ Wilson out with a bum elbow. In six starts, Heaney, formerly in the Miami Marlins organization, has not allowed more than two runs and is on a five-game winning streak.
Heaney isn’t a big strikeout guy, though that potential is there. He’s a command and control guy, both of which should play up in Anaheim. In this start, Heaney takes the mound at Dodger Stadium, another pretty good pitcher’s park. Regression is coming for Heaney, only because an 88 percent strand rate is unsustainable, but he mixes his three pitches really well and pounds the strike zone. Out of 103 sliders, hitters have swung at missed at 29.1 percent of them, so look for that to be Heaney’s bread and butter pitch against a Dodgers lineup that is merely average against southpaws.
Zack Greinke doesn’t need “development” or “polish”. He just needs the ball every fifth day and he’ll give you a dynamite outing. He has posted video game numbers this season with a 1.37 ERA in 138.1 innings of work. His run prevention performance has actually come as a little bit of a surprise. His strikeout rate is down 2.2 percent this season, but he has made up for it by limiting walks even more and sequencing extremely well. Hitters have a .230 BABIP against Greinke and he has stranded almost 89 percent of his runners.
Over the last three seasons, Greinke has really worked on refining his changeup and it has been his best weapon so far this season. Per PITCHf/x data, Greinke’s changeup is 16.4 runs above average, almost double what it finished at last season. Going by PITCHf/x hitter data, the worst team in the league at hitting changeups? The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Now, that may not necessarily be predictive, but it is something to consider when looking at the side and total for this game.
MLB Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers
Both pitchers have some metrics due for regression. Greinke has the better track record. The Dodgers have clearly had less success against lefties than righties, but Greinke has been pretty special this season. Runs could very well be at a premium in this game, so the under, despite the low total, may be worth considering. Ultimately, this is just a great pitching matchup to watch two guys with great command throw haymakers at each other all game long.