LA lefty has longest scoreless streak in '22
Anderson tosses 6 strong frames in win over Mets, hasn't allowed run in 26 innings
LOS ANGELES -- Tyler Anderson might have hoped his chances for success would improve when he joined the Dodgers last offseason, even if it may not be as a full-time starter.
Injuries have now allowed Anderson to be a fixture in Los Angeles’ rotation, and he’s more than fulfilling his role. In 10 appearances (eight starts), he’s pitched to a 2.59 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. And on Friday night, in the Dodgers’ 6-1 win over the Mets at Dodger Stadium, the left-hander extended his scoreless-innings streak to 26 against an offense that has the second most runs scored in MLB.
“He was, once again, so consistent,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “He made pitches when he needed to and kept those guys off-balance.”
Roberts lifted Anderson following 81 pitches and six brilliant innings, during which he allowed only three singles without giving up a walk and striking out five. Anderson's scoreless streak is now the longest in MLB this season -- one frame more than Yankees right-hander Clay Holmes' active 25-inning streak -- but it’s having no effect on how he throws.
“I’m just trying to keep executing my pitches and keep us in ballgames,” Anderson said.
According to STATS, Anderson (7-0 with six walks in 55 2/3 innings) is the first pitcher in the modern era to go 7-0 (or better) with fewer than seven walks over his first 10 appearances of a season.
Once Anderson exited, the Dodgers allowed their first run of the series as Yency Almonte's first pitch in the seventh resulted in a 433-foot homer by Pete Alonso.
But Los Angeles supplied its own power with a pair of two-run homers against New York starter Chris Bassitt. The first was a second-inning homer from Cody Bellinger, who missed several games earlier this week with a left adductor strain. The other came in the fourth from Zach McKinstry, who made his first start of the season.
Anderson, meanwhile, matched Tony Gonsolin’s six scoreless frames from Thursday night to add to his impressive start to the 2022 season.
The 32-year-old Anderson spent his first four seasons in Colorado and the past two years with three clubs (San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Seattle) before coming to Los Angeles as a league-average pitcher -- a career ERA+ of 100 with a 1.32 WHIP.
After two strong appearances in long relief, Anderson’s entrance into the rotation came when Andrew Heaney injured his left shoulder. The absence of Clayton Kershaw has only heightened Anderson’s importance.
“I just wanted to come here and be on a team that’s going to win and do whatever I could -- whether that was starting, bullpen, whatever,” Anderson said. “Just put all that selfishness aside and try to be the best team guy I could.”
Of his eight starts, Anderson has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one. The lone outlier was a seven-run, 10-hit showing against the Phillies on May 12. Entering Friday, Anderson had been nearly spotless in his three previous outings against the D-backs (two) and the Nationals, including a perfect-game bid on May 23 in Washington that ended in the sixth.
Anderson’s improvement correlates with the increased usage of his changeup, a pitch on which he is getting more swing-and-misses. Against the Mets, he threw it 24 times (30% of his pitches) and got 10 whiffs with it. His three hits allowed each came off his four-seam fastball.
“Last year, [the changeup] was good at times, but it wasn’t as consistent,” Anderson said. “Finding a better grip has helped me just be a little more consistent, and trusting to throw it when I need to and when I want to.”
Anderson and Gonsolin have been major contributors to the Dodgers’ MLB-best 2.50 rotation ERA.
“They both had different paths to get here this season,” Roberts said. “Tony was looked at as a fifth starter for us, and Tyler came in as a sixth starter, essentially. But both have pitched like top-end guys. I’d hate to imagine where we’d be without those two guys.”