Rangers' Beltre aims to continue being Angels' nemesis
Adrian Beltre has played some of the best baseball of his 21-year career against the Los Angeles Angels, and the Texas Rangers third baseman seems to enjoy hitting off left-hander Andrew Heaney just as much.
The future Hall of Famer should get to experience both Wednesday night when the Rangers play the Angels in the final contest of their three-game series at Angel Stadium.
Beltre has clubbed more home runs against the Angels than any other major league team, and 25 of those 47 long balls have gone over the wall at Angel Stadium.
He's 7-for-14 in his career off Heaney with three home runs, including a two-run homer in a 4-2 victory in Texas on Sept. 4.
"Beltre's given me trouble for a long time," Heaney told MLB.com after that game. "Every time I face him, he knows what I like to do. I try mixing it up on him sometimes, and that time he got me, he ambushed the fastball in and he got every bit of it."
Beltre is still looking for his first hit of the series.
He sat out a 5-4 win by the Angels (77-81) in 11 innings on Monday and went 0-for-4 in a 4-1 loss on Tuesday.
The Rangers (66-91) have lost seven of their past nine games.
In his final start of the season, Heaney will be looking to secure a 10th win for the first time in his five-year career. He's had two chances since throwing seven shutout innings in a 1-0 win against the Chicago White Sox on Sept. 9.
Heaney (9-10, 4.21) pitched well enough to win against the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sept. 15, departing with a 4-2 lead after five innings, but the bullpen crumbled in the 6-5 loss.
Heaney then matched his shortest outing of the season on Friday, allowing six runs, five hits and three walks in three innings of an 11-3 loss at the Houston Astros.
He has been much better at home this season, posting a 7-3 record and 3.28 ERA, compared to 2-7 and 5.06 on the road.
Heaney has not only had trouble getting Beltre out, but several other Rangers as well. Elvis Andrus is 7-for-15 with two home runs, Rougned Odor is 5-for-15, Nomar Mazara is 4-for-11, Joey Gallo is 3-for-7, and Robinson Chirinos is 4-for-6 with two home runs.
Heaney is 1-3 in six career starts against Texas with a 7.50 ERA, the highest of any team he has faced more than twice. He's 0-1 against the Rangers this season with a 7.94 mark.
Heaney will be opposed by Texas left-hander Yohander Mendez (2-2, 6.04), who is scheduled to make his fifth career start and first against the Angels.
His only appearances against Los Angeles came last September in two relief appearances two days apart in Anaheim.
Mendez had a rough time in his last outing, allowing eight runs (seven earned) and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 9-3 loss against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays last Wednesday.
That was a major setback from his previous three appearances, when he combined to allow two runs and seven hits in 15 innings.
"Not as good of command with the breaking ball," former Rangers manager Jeff Banister told MLB.com after Mendez's last outing, which came two days before Banister was fired.