Bumgarner's pep talk helps SF rookie settle in

Anderson gets into groove after rocky 1st, but bullpen can't hang on

June 6th, 2019

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Shaun Anderson showed once again how much he belongs in the Giants’ rotation. He pitched six-plus innings of solid ball, but he didn’t figure in the decision as San Francisco lost to the Mets, 7-3, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.

At first, it looked like Anderson was going to have one of his worst starts of the year. The first two hitters he faced -- Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith -- hit back-to-back home runs. It was the first time since Bud Black on Aug. 3, 1994, that a Giants pitcher allowed consecutive home runs to start off a game.

Anderson’s problems weren’t over yet. He then walked Pete Alonso and allowed a single to Michael Conforto before a mound visit. But after that chat, Anderson was able to bounce back and hold the Mets scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when he was pulled after walking Juan Lagares to lead off the frame.

“I figured that was all [the Mets] were going to get,” Anderson said of the homers in the first inning. “I gathered myself, knew I needed to locate the ball. I kind of locked it in after that.”

Anderson left with a 3-2 lead, but right-hander couldn’t hold it after allowing a game-tying single to Jeff McNeil.

“He did a terrific job,” manager Bruce Bochy said about Anderson. “It came down to his poise out there. He got out of a jam and he pitched out of that and then he settled down. He got in a good groove there. There he was in the seventh inning. He walked the guy, but what a terrific job he did. He gave us a chance to win.”

Anderson, 24, entered the season as the fourth-best prospect in San Francisco's farm system, according to MLB Pipeline. The way he threw Thursday, it’s obvious that he isn’t intimidated by hitters at this level.

“I learn something each time I go out [on the mound] -- getting with the pitching coaches and the guys that have been around and talking to them on how they go about it,” Anderson said. “I’m learning more each outing. I feel like it has helped me progress.

“… You learn more and more about different swings, different swing paths, different locations and pitch sequencing. There is so much you can learn from each outing. More and more each outing, it gives me more and more confidence every time I go out.”

Anderson was able to settle down after the first in part because of some sage advice he received from teammate Madison Bumgarner. After he allowed the two home runs, Anderson was seen in the dugout talking to Bumgarner, who was telling him to calm down on the mound.

“[Bumgarner] was saying, ‘Find a way to go deep in the game. Find a way to keep going.’ He made a good point about it and I went deep,” Anderson said.

Asked how lucky he is to have a veteran like Bumgarner to help him, Anderson said: “It’s awesome. All the guys that are here. Not just Bumgarner. It’s [Drew] Pomeranz, [Tony] Watson, [Derek] Holland and all the guys who have been up here. They have been phenomenal with my learning process.”

The Mets would break the game open in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Giants reliever Mark Melancon allowed four runs. The biggest blow was a two-run home run by Todd Frazier.

“We were nine outs away," Bochy said. "We didn’t do much with the bats.”