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Anderson revisited by first-inning woes

NEW YORK -- If you throw out the first innings from Chase Anderson's last two starts, he would have a perfect ERA.

Of course, the first inning counts just as much as the rest, and given the tone it sets for the game it might mean just a little bit more. On Friday night at Citi Field, Anderson spotted the Mets four runs in the first and that proved to be too deep a hole to dig out of against Noah Syndergaard as the D-backs fell, 4-2.

"He didn't have real good stuff in the first," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He really didn't have very good stuff the whole game. He battled and was able to just limit them to the four -- which in most games would give us a chance to win, but we just ran into an extremely impressive pitcher in Syndergaard."

Last time out against the Rockies, Anderson gave up three first-inning runs, but managed to not give up another while lasting six innings.

That, however, was against the Rockies' pitching staff and not a dominating ace like Syndergaard, who carved up the D-backs en route to striking out 13 in eight innings.

"He was throwing whatever pitch he wanted in any count," D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb said. "That was the tough part. He would be behind in counts and he would throw that slider or that two-seamer, that changeup, and it was tough to get in a rhythm off him. Especially when a guy is throwing that hard. You've got to hit off the fastball. You can't be looking for offspeed."

Anderson, who departed this one with one out in the fifth, is in his first full season in the big leagues and may need to adjust his pregame warmup routine to try and combat the first-inning struggles.

"Maybe throw more pitches in the bullpen just trying to get more of a feel for the fastball," Anderson said of a possible wrinkle. "So I'll probably change that up next time. I feel like once I get past the first inning, everything's pretty good from there. For me to have consistent stuff each and every time, I think I just need to throw a little bit more in the bullpen before the game to be ready for the game."

Anderson got a scare in the fourth when Juan Lagares smashed a one-hopper that nailed Anderson in his left calf. He fell to the ground and appeared to be in tremendous pain, yet he was able to get up minutes later and stay in the game.

"The initial shock of getting hit like that it hurts pretty bad," Anderson said. "But after I got over it, I was able to stand up and the adrenaline got me through it."

Now, Anderson must find a way to get through his first-inning troubles. He'll have 10 days between his starts thanks to the All-Star break.

"Ten days off will be nice," he said. "I'll just try to get away from the game a little bit and come back for the second half ready to go."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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