Heading into the season, Brett Anderson was expected to be the Los Angeles Dodgers fifth starter after signing a one-year deal.
While expectations for a number five starter aren’t usually high, Anderson was an interesting case because of his injured past. The left-hander hadn’t thrown over 100 innings since 2010, but carried a 3.73 ERA and 3.51 FIP in his career. He could have been the pitcher that put the Dodgers rotation over the top, or he could succumb to another injury and miss time.
Things changed real quick for Anderson, as he became the team’s third starter in the first month of the season after Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy were lost for the season. All the 27-year-old has done is have the healthiest season since his rookie season in 2009, and provide the Dodgers rotation with some stability behind their aces. Anderson is 6-7 with a 3.43 ERA, 3.75 FIP and a 1.329 WHIP in 22 starts (128.2 innings pitched).
Coming off his worst start of the season against the Washington Nationals, where he allowed seven earned runs in five innings, Anderson is on the mound on Saturday night against the Cincinnati Reds. His manager, Don Mattingly, believes he will have a much better outing. “Brett’s been really good for us all year long,” Mattingly said. “That’s probably the lone game [vs Nationals] that he didn’t pitch very well. He didn’t get the ball where he wanted to. I feel like that’s going to be a blip on the radar.”
Mattingly then went on to praise his left-hander and then talked about Anderson’s placement outside of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke when discussing the team’s rotation. “Because of a couple starts that we’ve had, he’s been lumped in with everybody but Kershaw & Greinke,” the Dodgers skipper said. “I think unfairly. He’s pitched really well all year long.”
The 54-year-old manager went on about Anderson and even likened him to another Dodgers left-hander. “I look at him as being a lot like Ryu,” Mattingly said. “Every time out, he’s given us a chance to win. Thrown the ball really well for us. He’s been kind of overlooked I think, as good as he’s been.”
While Anderson has been good to this point, he will likely be judged from this point on, as the Dodgers are in a battle for the division. The team will need Anderson to continue to give them quality outings the rest of the way for him to be properly judged.