As much as Dave Roberts insisted he wasn’t taking any chances, he couldn’t be sure. Tyler Anderson’s attempt to complete a no-hitter could very well backfire on the Dodgers in the coming weeks and months.
With Walker Buehler’s arm in a sling, Clayton Kershaw just returning from a back injury and Julio Urias still in form, Anderson is their No. 2 starting XI behind Tony Gonsolin.
You can’t afford to lose him.
But on Wednesday night, Roberts allowed this 32-year-old left-hander with a troubling medical history to throw a career-high 123 pitches in the pursuit of personal glory.
How absolutely wonderful.
Regardless of why Anderson was allowed to venture into the unknown, regardless of whether the decision hurts the team’s World Series ambitions, good for Roberts.
Ultimately, the manager made the right decision.
What happened in the 4-1 win over the Angels was bigger than any team or season. This was an example of what sets this sport apart from all others.
Only in baseball can fans show up at a ballpark for a random midweek game and possibly see the kind of magic they saw in the second game of the Freeway Series, in which a relatively unknown fellow carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning and out hit Mike Trout looking for the first out only to break Shohei Ohtani with a three.
When Anderson was removed, he had thrown 14 more pitches than he had ever pitched in a major league game.
Anderson said he would have understood if Roberts had knocked him out sooner, obviously aware of the Dodgers’ championship visions. Anderson, a former first-round pick, has been slow to develop in part due to his inability to stay healthy.
But what did it mean to him that Roberts was holding him?
“I can’t say enough about that,” Anderson said.
Anderson has been granted permission to pursue a dream, specifically a dream of the boy who resides within him.
This is a dream of millions of Little Leaguers, only a handful of whom will ever make it to the big leagues. Of these major leagues, only a select few will ever find themselves able to field a no-hitter.
“It’s the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “It’s Dodger Stadium. It’s the Freeway series. It’s Trout, Ohtani, and you have Tyler Anderson here with an opportunity to put a no-hitter into the ninth inning in front of 50,000 people. You talk about the opportunities. This is a special moment.”
Who was someone who took that away from him?
“Well, I took it out of the hands of certain players,” Roberts said.
Four times Captain Hook has removed a pitcher who threw a no-hitter or a perfect play. Roberts ended Ross Stripling’s major league debut in 2016 after 7 1/3 innings of no-hit. In September of that year, he removed the bladder-prone Rich Hill, who had one perfect game for seven innings. Two years later, Walker Buehler was dragged six innings into a no-hitter that three relievers finished together. Earlier this year, Roberts drew Clayton Kershaw despite being perfect seven innings with an 80 pitch count.
“I’ve shown that I’m not afraid to pull the plug,” Roberts said.
In those cases, Roberts cited the possibility of injury when defending his decisions.
With Anderson, Roberts recalled that his previous start had only lasted three innings. Roberts hinted at the team’s upcoming days off on Thursday and Monday, meaning Anderson could make his next start with a six-day break.
“Everything was designed to provide that opportunity,” Roberts said.
Roberts sounded like he was making excuses to hold him.
“I know I have this reputation as a grim reaper,” Roberts said, “but I’m also a sports fan.”
Why else play at all?
The safer option would have been to remove Anderson after, say, the seventh inning when his pitch count was 99. This would be the mindset of many teams today who, in their quest for efficiency, would have made the game less interesting.
The romantic in Roberts made Anderson dream. He was right about that.
The World Series isn’t the only prize in baseball, and not everything should be sacrificed for a championship that can only be won by one team. Moments like this count too. The more than 50,000 fans who serenaded Anderson with a standing ovation can vouch for that.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-06-16/dodgers-dave-roberts-lets-tyler-anderson-pursue-no-hitter-despite-pitch-count Hail Dave Roberts for letting Tyler Anderson chase no-hitter