Tyler Anderson threw 86 pitches Sunday, none of them going faster than 92 mph, the Dodgers left-handers content to cruise in the slow lane while so many of his peers hurtled down the freeway at 97-98 mph.
But what Anderson lacks in speed he makes up for with command, deception and guile, a combination that earned the 32-year-old a playoff rotation spot with the Herky Ruck delivery. It was featured again in his last regular season start.
The Dodgers lost to Colorado 4-1 by 44,091 at Chavez Ravine, their normally strong offense bringing up three singles against Rockies starter Germán Márquez (9-13) and relievers Justin Lawrence and Daniel Bard, the latter having six of his last seven Batters batted for the save.
Anderson (15-5) took the loss but threw well enough to win, giving up two carries and six hits in five innings and setting a career high with 10 strikeouts and walking none.
One of the criticisms of Anderson is that he doesn’t have any swing-and-miss stuff, his three-pitch mix consists of a four-seam fastball averaging 90.7 mph, a 79.0-mph changeup and one 85.7 mph cut fastball.
But Anderson included 21 swinging strikes and 10 called strikes among his 86 pitches against the Rockies. That should play in the postseason.
“I think one aspect of going into the playoffs is that people look at strikes and stuff like that, but I just don’t think those things are the same,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The radar gun is easy to quantify but command, able to sequence [pitches] is important.
“He has a [superb] changeup, and most importantly, he’s a guy I trust. Postseason is about empowering guys to be successful but also working with guys you believe in and trust.”
That’s high praise for a seven-year veteran who opened the season as a mass reliever before securing a rotational spot in late April when Andrew Heaney went down with a shoulder injury.
Anderson, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract in March, finished the regular season 15-5 with a 2.57 earned run average, the fifth-best ERA in the National League and more than two full runs better than the 4.62 career ERA he started the season with. He struck out 138 and walked 34 in 178 2/3 innings.
Along the way, Anderson fielded his first all-star team, picked up a no-hitter in the ninth inning of a June 15 start against the Angels and went 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA with 24 strikeouts and six Walks in five starts July.
“The regular season was good, but I didn’t come here [just] having a good regular season,” Anderson said. “I came for a chance to be there in the postseason. It’s encouraging that they trust me to go out and compete with these guys [in the playoffs]. When that starts, hopefully the best starts are ahead of me.”
Julio Urías and Clayton Kershaw will start in the first two games of the NL Division Series on October 11th and 12th. Anderson will start with Game 3 or 4, giving him nearly two weeks between starts.
“He’s going to be a big part of it,” Roberts said of Anderson’s role in the World Series pursuit. “Every outing, every inning, every pitch is important, but he’s going to win a lot of innings for us to be good and win a championship. Knowing he’ll start a game in the first series after that…he obviously deserved that.
Anderson grooved a 0-and-2 cutter to Brendan Rodgers, who put the error over the midfield wall for a solo homer in Sunday’s first inning, and Ryan McMahon doubled on a run in the third, but otherwise was sharp, seven batters hitting with his fastball and three with his changeup.
“Obviously you don’t want to walk out with a loss, but I felt like I made pretty good pitches for the most part,” Anderson said. “I feel like I’m in a good place with everything, so I take that overall.”
The Dodgers scored in the third inning when Gavin Lux walked, finished third with Trayce Thompson’s soft single to the right and came in deep center with Cody Bellinger’s sacrificial fly. They were down 2-1 when they bet on an infield single and an error in eighth place two with no outs, but Bard beat Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith with 98-mile fastballs. … The Rockies scored twice against assist Andre Jackson in the ninth set, an inning that started with right fielder Joey Gallo losing flyball to Randal Grichuk in the sun with a three-pointer. … Justin Turner returned as the designated hitter after missing four games with a left leg bruise, but left fielder Chris Taylor, who was left out of Saturday’s lineup because of a neck strain, did not play and is being considered by the day. “It’s not great,” Roberts said of Taylor. “For Chris to say he can’t play is certainly telling.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2022-10-02/tyler-anderson-dodgers-rockies-recap-mlb-playoffs Tyler Anderson proves again why he’s a go-to guy for Dodgers