Brett Anderson not only made his regular season debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night, it was also his first career start at Chase Field. The left-hander threw six innings and allowed three runs on five hits — with all three runs coming on a Paul Goldschmidt home run.
Anderson, a notorious groundball pitcher, had some trouble early keeping the ball out of the air, which is a common issue pitchers battle in the desert setting. Following the Dodgers’ extra-innings loss, Anderson generally seemed content with his first start, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
For the first time out, I’ll take it,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, it will progress from here.”
As for the home run he gave up, Anderson tied it to his sinker not having enough dive on it, but also credited Goldschmidt for being a power hitter:
I was trying to throw a sinker and get a ground ball, but it stayed over the middle and didn’t sink too much. He was trying to go the other way to drive in a run and he’s one of the handful of guys in the big leagues who has enough power to drive it that way with authority and carry it.”
After allowing the home run, Anderson settled in and retired the next nine batters he faced. It was ended on a one-out Mark Trumbo infield single that likely would’ve resulted in an out had Juan Uribe not airmailed his throw to first base. The Dodgers’ lefty remained locked in, took care of a soft grounder hit back to the box and struck out Chris Owings swinging to end his final inning of work.
On top of needing to remain healthy so as to help stabilize the backend of the Dodgers rotation that was a revolving door last season, Anderson’s importance grew with Hyun-Jin Ryu’s shoulder inflammation that is expected to keep him out at least until May.
Anderson had mixed results in Spring Training, though as Clayton Kershaw has routinely proven, those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. More importantly for the Dodgers, Anderson has remained healthy thus far, which has been the biggest struggle of his career.
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