Anderson: Battling Early Season Angst -- Again.

Tyler Anderson is one of the "veterans" in the Rockies rotation.

He does have 2 1/2 seasons of big-league experience, and he is 28 years old. Chad Bettis is the only starting pitcher on the staff who has more service time and the only member of the rotation older than Anderson.

Experience, however, isn't helping Anderson deal with what is becoming a trend.

He had a no-decision in the Rockies 9-8 loss to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night, but he laid the ground work for the Rockies to lose their first two games in a season for the sixth time. And two of those 0-2 starts were the Rockies first two years of existence.

In 2 1/3 innings, Anderson gave up seven runs, walking four batters. It is the continuation of a concerning trend. His opening month of the season (with this year's March start added into his past Aprils) has been by far the worst of his career. His 9.09 ERA is more than five runs higher than any other month. 

He has allowed a home run every 3 2/3 innings in the opening month of the season compared to a home run every 8 2/3 innings the five other months. He has walked 15 batters in 32 2/3 innings the opening month of a season, an average 4.1 walks per nine innings, compared to 43 walks in 170 innings the five other months, an average 2.3 every  nine innings.

Friday's start was only the second game of his career in which he walked four batters. More concerning? He walked three batters in the first inning, a career high, and all three of those batters scored during the D-Backs five-run first inning. In his four other games where he walked three or more batters he worked at least five innings. On Friday, he survived only 2 1/3 innings, allowing nine baserunners, seven of whom scored.

Now, it was against the D-Backs. Don't let the fact he is 2-0 in seven career starts against Arizona deceive. The D-Backs have been a challenge for him since he got to the big leagues. 

While he is 2-0 against the D-Backs and 11-12 against the rest of MLB, the other numbers underscore his struggle, including a 6.67 ERA against the D-Backs, which is 2.7 runs per nine innings higher than his ERA in all other games. And one of his two victories -- last September -- came in a relief appearance.

Anderson has made only seven career starts in which he worked less than five innings, and Friday night was the fourth of those starts that have come against the D-Backs, the third in Chase Field. His one abbreviated start against Arizona at Coors Field was on June 22 last season when he came off the disabled list only to have to come out after an inning. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list the next day and a week later underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

The concerning aspect of his struggle this year is it appears to be the continuation of problems he had during spring training when he walked nine batters and gave up 23 hits in just 15 2/3 innings of work in exhibition games against Major League teams. 

Tracy RingolsbyComment