When Max Scherzer had to come out of Game 3 of the World Series early due to back spasms, manager Bruce Bochy had to pivot. The Texas Rangers had a three-run lead and desperately wanted to get the win on Monday night. Bochy didn't panic, and instead of going the regular bullpen route, he called on Jon Gray to come in for some long relief work and help get the game further along. The thing was, Gray was scheduled to start last night's Game 4. No worries, in stepped veteran Andrew Heaney to take the ball and get the Rangers one more step closer to the organization's first World Series title. That is exactly what Heaney did.
The Oklahoma City native was drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft with the ninth overall selection by the Miami Marlins. Despite the high expectations that come with a first-round selection, Heaney had never pitched in a playoff game until he threw three innings of work last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And this season with the Rangers before last night, he had pitched in four playoff games with the first two coming as starts and the other two being out of the bullpen. Heaney's first start was 3 2/3 innings of solid work against the Baltimore Orioles, but his last one came against the Houston Astros and was a complete disaster. He failed to make it out of the first inning and allowed three runs, on four hits and a walk while recording only two outs.
Andrew Heaney was clutch for Texas Rangers in Game 4
Last night's effort was not like that at all. When the Rangers needed him the most, Heaney came through in the biggest of ways on the grandest of stages. In his first-ever World Series start, Heaney earned the win, by going five innings, allowing one run, on four hits, walking two, and striking out three. It was the start of a lifetime for the mellow Heaney and one that he is sure to remember for the rest of his life. Team leader Corey Seager summed up Heaney's heroic performance best, as you can see in the video below.
The Rangers are now only one win away from that elusive World Series title thanks to the pitching effort from Heaney last night. The offense pounded out a ton of runs, but it was Heaney who gave Bochy length out of the starting role and got the game into the sixth.
Hopefully, the Rangers will be able to take care of business tonight and end the drought, but if they don't, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Heaney back on the mound in a possible Game 6 or 7 if the situation calls for it. We made it to October baseball, and we now find ourselves with November baseball. Enjoy the ride!
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