The Texas Rangers made major changes to their pitching rotation this offseason, with Andrew Heaney being one of the key acquisitions. While this is Heaney's first year on the Rangers, he has already broken one of Nolan Ryan's records.
In the Rangers' Monday contest against the Kansas City Royals, Heaney struck out nine straight batters through the third inning, via Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today. . His nine consecutive strikeouts broke Ryan's franchise record, via Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today.
Texas signed Heaney to a two-year, $25 million contract this offseason. Prior to the Rangers, he spent seven of his 10 MLB seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. In LA, Heaney appeared in 102 games, pitching to a 30-33 record with a 4.51 ERA and a 593/162 K/BB ratio.
Heaney came to the Rangers in an offseason pitching haul that included Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi. However, his debut in Texas wasn't as grand as the Rangers had hoped. Heaney lasted just 2.2 innings in his first start – against the Baltimore Orioles – allowing seven hits, two home runs and seven overall earned runs.
Against the Royals, Heaney let up a lead off single to Bobby Witt Jr. He would later score on a fielding error. But after that blemish, the left-hander would lock in and strikeout the next nine batters. Heaney's Rangers held a 3-1 lead after the third inning.
The Rangers have true playoff aspirations this season. Between their offensive additions last year and pitching acquisitions this year – on top of adding Bruce Bochy as manager – Texas proved that they no longer want to be cellar dwellers. They're counting on Andrew Heaney to help lead the new look pitching staff.
Against the Royals, Heaney showed that he's up for the challenge – at least to start.