New Orleans Zephyrs pitcher Andrew Heaney has the opportunity to set the tone and perhaps begin a turnaround and end the season on a high note.
His began his tenure with the Zephyrs on May 21 amid much hype, and he went 3-0 with a sterling 2.74 earned-run average in four games before being called up to Miami on June 16.
Major league hitters sent him back to New Orleans.
“I was working on mechanical things, and (the majors) is a tough place to do that,” he said.
In the five games since coming back, he has allowed 14 runs in 22.2 innings (4.84) and has gone 1-3. He has thrown the ball up in the strike zone noticeably more, giving up six home runs.
In his pre-Miami stint, he was known for throwing strikes low in the zone, giving up just one home run in 23 innings.
However, he has had his moments of late. He shut out Iowa on the road for six innings on July 22, only to give up a run on two hits in the seventh in a loss. He bounced back by beating Omaha at Zephyr Field on July 27, allowing three runs in six innings but striking out nine.
He gave up two home runs in that game, though. And, in his last start, on Aug. 1 at home against power-hitting Iowa, he gave up two tape-measure shots.
His first game back from the Marlins was on July 12 at Memphis, and in just four innings, the Redbirds scored five runs on six hits, including a home run.
WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs (59-59) at Memphis Redbirds (61-57)
WHERE: AutoZone Park, Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:05 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-3, 4.34 ERA) vs. Redbirds left-hander Tim Cooney (10-6, 3.73)
RADIO: WMTI-FM, 106.1.
For the third consecutive series, the Zephyrs face a team whose pitchers rank in the top three of the Pacific Coast League in earned-run average, with the Redbirds third (4.04). However, Zephyrs starting pitchers having given up just two runs in 17 innings over the past three games. … The teams have played just six games against each other this season. The Redbirds swept three games at AutoZone Park on July 4-6, and the Zephyrs won two of three July 11-13 at Zephyr Field. After this five-game set, the teams will end the season with five games on Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at Zephyr Field. … The Zephyrs are one of eight teams — half the PCL — that have a better road record than home mark. The Z’s are 29-30 at home and 30-29 on the road. … The Redbirds are coming off a rare six-game series at Round Rock in which the teams split. Three of the games were decided by one run, and Memphis won two, including the final game (5-4). … With left-hander Brian Flynn being called up to Miami, the Marlins designated pitcher Jacob Turner for assignment. However, he is not coming to the Z’s but will be traded, a Marlins personnel source said. With the nonwaiver deadline already past, the Marlins will reach a deal with a team who claims Turner, who frustrated team officials with his inconsistency and has been put on waivers. … The Z’s return home Tuesday for an eight-game stand against Tacoma and Reno.
-- Darrell Williams