Anderson gets a grip in first win of season
Comfortable in South Florida heat, D-backs starter has good feel for two-seam fastball
MIAMI -- With the roof open at Marlins Park on Wednesday night, D-backs right-hander Chase Anderson, a Texas native, felt at home in the 82-degree weather and humidity.
So Anderson took advantage of the conditions to throw the most two-seam fastballs he has attempted in a game since incorporating the pitch into his repertoire over the offseason. Of his fastballs thrown, more than half were of the two-seam variety.
It paid off as Anderson tossed a career-high eight-plus innings in a 6-1 victory over the Marlins for his first victory of the season.
"I just felt like I had a good grip on the ball," Anderson said. "I could really manipulate it when I needed to, to get a little sink to it. You want to get more run than sink. I was able to do different things. You get a little bit more moisture there. Your hand feels better on the ball. You have a better feel for the ball."
Anderson gave up just one run on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk over 99 pitches (68 strikes). His two-seam fastball likely helped induce 13 groundouts.
"Just attacked the strike zone," said Anderson, who didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning. "I worked on two-seam in Spring Training, and that definitely paid off today. It was such a good defense. When you utilize those guys, getting ahead with a strike, and guys put the ball in play on the ground, you get a lot of outs that way."
Arizona handed him a 3-0 lead by the second inning, something D-backs manager Chip Hale believes helped Anderson on the mound.
Entering Wednesday, Anderson had received just 10 runs of support, tied for second fewest among National League starters with Eddie Butler and trailing only Dillon Gee (five). Anderson was also one of five Major Leaguers (minimum five starts) to remain winless, and the only one with an ERA of 3.00 or less.
"I think he felt comfortable," said Hale, who noticed Anderson's jersey drenched in sweat and recommended he change out of it. (He politely declined). "I think once we got the couple runs, he knew he had a lead and he wasn't going to give it up."
Until loading the bases in the ninth on a pair of singles and a hit by pitch, Anderson cruised through the Marlins' offense, permitting just a leadoff single to Martin Prado in the fifth and a two-out double to Justin Bour in the sixth.
Hale said the plan was to keep Anderson in the ballgame unless the fourth batter in the ninth inning came to the plate. He wanted to preserve the shutout for Anderson, but a run scored on Giancarlo Stanton's double play with the bases loaded against Brad Ziegler.
"Chase did a wonderful job tonight, mixed his pitches," Hale said. "I thought early in the game, his fastball was electric. It was up to 93 [mph] at times. He was feeling it."