Padres: Tip your cap to Andrew Heaney in Mike Clevinger debut

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

On a day that was supposed to be highlighted by Mike Clevinger making his Padres debut, it was Angels starter Andrew Heaney who stole the show.

Mike Clevinger made his highly-anticipated debut for the Padres on Thursday night in the series finale of a quick two-game series with the Angels. He was greeted with an Andrelton Simmons single into centerfield but got Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon to fly out and ground into a double play, respectively.

He didn’t face real adversity until the third inning when Jared Walsh led off the inning with a double, followed by a Jo Adell walk on six pitches. Simmons RBI single put the Halos on the board. The following inning, Rendon tripled to lead off the inning, and former Padre Justin Upton knocked him in to put the Angels up 2-0.

And that was all Angels starter Andrew Heaney needed, who went 7.0 innings with six strikeouts while allowing only two walks and three hits. He lowered his ERA on the shortened season from 4.62 to 3.89, and sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other guy. Heaney isn’t flashy by any means, but he throws strikes and rarely gives up home runs.

He dropped his sinker and started throwing the four-seam fastball this season, yielding a .253 batting average entering Thursday. His secondary pitches have been outstanding, with his curveball drawing a 41.4 percent whiff rate, according to StatCast. Heaney only allowed hits to Fernando Tatis Jr., Jake Cronenworth, and Wil Myers.

Other than that, the Padres lineup was quieted in what was expected to be Clevinger garnering the attention. And that’s not to say Clevinger pitched poorly. Actually, it was quite the opposite. Despite allowing two earned runs, the 29-year-old threw an efficient 87 pitches in 6.0 innings of work.

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Clevinger’s pitch usage was interesting in that his fastball and slider usages were flip-flopped with his career averages. So I am wondering if this was something that Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild wanted him to implement. That will be something to monitor going forward, but we can’t blame the newest Padre, despite him statistically taking the loss.

Related Story. What to Expect From Mike Clevinger. light

The Padres offense went silent against an underrated pitcher, and they’ll look to bounce back against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night. Series preview to come.