Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Analyzes Andrew Heaney’s Homer Problem

When Andrew Heaney allowed just one home run in his first 31 innings with the Dodgers, there was hope that his newfound slider had also helped alleviate the longball issues that have plagued him throughout his career. Averaging 1.8 homers per nine innings the past six seasons coming into this year, no one really thought 0.3 was a realistic new normal, but it wasn’t crazy to think he could settle around 1.0.

Unfortunately, Heaney’s HR/9 his last four starts is 4.3, culminating in a four-homer clunker in taking the loss against the Giants on Monday night. That brings his season HR/9 up to 1.9, right in line with the last six years and leaving a lot of questions about whether he’s a guy the Dodgers want to trust in the postseason.

As Bill Plunkett writes in the Orange County Register, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts is acutely aware of Heaney’s issues but holds out hope there is room to find a middle ground between the unsustainable 0.3 HR/9 and the unsustainable-in-the-other-direction 4.3.

“When you’re a two-pitch pitcher – there were some changeups in there, but (Heaney is) predominantly a fastball pitcher,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Heaney, who threw 55 fastballs, 27 sliders and eight changeups against the Giants. “He made some mistakes in the middle of the plate and they took advantage.

“I think the main adjustment with these homers is that he’s making mistakes in the middle of the plate, heart of the plate. I think there’s some sequencing thing that we can kind of clean up going forward.”

Heaney was more succinct but equally blunt about his failings on Monday night.

“I was throwing (stuff) right down the middle,” he said. “I didn’t do a good job of mixing pitches very well. I didn’t put guys away. Made mistakes. They capitalized.”

With 28 team games left, Heaney is likely to get five more starts before the end of the season. More than any other starting pitcher on the staff, he is auditioning for an October role, and whether it’s sequencing or pitch execution or whatever, Heaney will need to show he has the homer problem under control if he wants to be throwing important innings in the postseason.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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