There’s a lot of criticism to be made after the Dodgers’ three playoff games, with the offense being most responsible. But for this play, we’ll focus on Andrew Heaney, a pitcher who worried about his role and struggled with the long ball, but did an admirable job in the Game 3 loss.
Heaney took the loss by allowing a home run to Trent Grisham in the fourth inning, but that didn’t reflect the quality of Heaney’s pitching.
Tony Gonsolin got the ball for Game 3 instead of Tyler Anderson, one of the main reasons being that the bullpen would be coming off a rest day, and therefore able to cover a greater number of outs, obviously a need with Gonsolin’s arm not fully built up to mid-season form, returning from a forearm strain.
Understanding that Anderson will be able to provide length in Game 4 if all goes well, Dave Roberts also probably thought he could use Heaney in Game 3 to cover more innings. But he probably never thought he’d need to call on him after four outs and numerous baserunners.
It didn’t take long to realize Gonsolin didn’t have it, and Heaney was thrown into a tight spot with two runners, one out and the top of the order coming in the second inning. Fortunately, he was able to convince Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto to complete the frame.
During Heaney’s last outing of the year, it was discussed in the group chat that his playoff success would be mostly dictated by whether he would allow solo shots or three-hit bombs. Heaney has looked dominant at various times throughout the season and posted a ridiculous 35.5 strikeout rate, but most of the time he got hurt was on the long ball.
He allowed a home run in tonight’s game, a solo shot at Grisham, but despite trying hard throughout his outing, Heaney was able to accomplish two things, one of each may prove significant in the game 4:
- Heaney allowed multiple base runners, but only conceded one run, keeping the Dodgers in the game for virtually the entire night, and did so while getting into an unholy situation as a firefighter, with two runners and only one out.
- By covering nine outs, Heaney ensured Roberts didn’t need to overuse his bullpen in a tight game from start to finish, even though it looked like the Padres were in control for most of the game.
Most of the Dodgers’ best backup arms had to come into the game to keep it 2-1, but no one was overused, and aside from Heaney, they should all be available for a game-win or go to the game. house 4.
Heaney certainly wasn’t as sharp as he has been most of the time in 2022, but the southpaw had great success in that Game 3 even though the Dodgers ultimately walked away with a loss. If the best offense in baseball scores just one run in a postseason game, no matter where they are or who they’re up against, and hasn’t yet shown good production against a Bullpen relievers, well, then the burden is on them.
On a night when they had to work a lot because Gonsolin was struggling, the Dodgers bullpen did more than just carry its weight, and the majority of that work was done by Andrew Heaney.