Mike Clevinger has commanded the most attention among pitchers throughout the majors for the past week, but it was Andrew Heaney who ruled the mound Thursday.
The Angels right-hander allowed only three hits over seven innings in Los Angeles' 2-0 victory over San Diego, spoiling Clevinger's debut with the Padres.
Heaney (3-2) struck out six and walked two while throwing a career-high 117 pitches. He stymied a San Diego lineup that entered the day leading the majors in runs scored and had won 12 of its last 15.
Clevinger (1-2) was acquired in a multiplayer deal with Cleveland before Monday's trade deadline but was making only his second start since Aug. 6. He was banished to the Indians' alternate training site for 12 days after he broke COVID-19 protocols during a road trip.
The 29-year-old long-haired right-hander — who is nicknamed “Sunshine” — wasn't sharp against the Angels, who drafted him in 2011 before trading him to the Indians three years later.
Clevinger came in with a 4-0 career mark against Los Angeles but allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings. He didn’t retire the Angels in order until the sixth and allowed the leadoff batter aboard in each of the first four innings.
Clevinger admitted that he felt nervous and compared it to his first postseason start in 2017.
“This is an exciting team and I wanted to show them I can be a contribution to it,” he said. “I had my heater and I had my location, that’s about all I had today. So it was a big grind. ... I was just rushing, getting a little ahead of myself and I think that’s when the arm lagged."
Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton each had two hits and an RBI for the Angels, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
“He looked fine. I know we got the win, which is good for us,” said Simmons about Clevinger’s outing. “He has good stuff and is a competitor. He went pretty deep even though he was trailing. I think he will serve the Padres well down the road.”
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