To understand the rise and fall of Diamondbacks’ right-hander Chase Anderson is to understand his journey. A call-up from the minors early last season propelled Anderson into the starting rotation, and he continued to fight for a spot until the team shut him down in September.
In spring training before this season, Anderson was again on the bubble and not until the final week of camp was he anointed with a hallowed spot among starters. While things began with a flourish, Anderson did not rack up victories, but instead seem to pile no-decisions at a rather rapid pace. From the start of the season, Anderson barely managed any decisions.
In starts from commencement of the season through June 6, he was just 1-1 with nine no-decisions. Then, Anderson hit the wall and developed right triceps inflammation. That malady landed the native of Wichita Falls, Tex. on the disabled list from July 19 through August 7. Upon his return, Anderson dropped a 7-6 decision to the Phillies at home, and seem to implode in his next start.
That was Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, and Anderson lasted only into the fifth. After he allowed nine hits, seven runs of which five were earned and tossed 97 pitches, he was sent down to Triple-A Reno.
“I think he just needs a little confidence builder and go down there and work on some things in a less-pressure situation,” Diamondbacks’ manager Chip Hale told MLB.com. “Is it going to be 10 days? I don’t know. We’ll see how he does down there. He still has a chance to come back and be a very effective pitcher for us.”
Follow his defeat to the Phillies on his next-to-last start before demoted to Reno, Anderson said his time on the disabled list was beneficial. Yet, his principal issue seems to be location and trying, unsuccessfully, to slice pitches off his pitch count. Economy of pitches has not been one of Anderson’s strengths, and his lack of command has plagued him since early June.
“I have to execute better pitches,” he said after that defeat to the Phillies last week. “Sometimes, you don’t have it, and I was not as sharp as before.”
For his part, Anderson could be considered a number four or five among starters on most clubs. Listed at 6-1 and 190 pounds, this description may be somewhat exaggerated. Slight of build, Anderson’s clearly is not a power pitcher and location of his fast ball, barely in the low 90s, must be precise. Acknowledging the power of his game lays in keeping hitters off balance, that is clearly not the case.
A quick look at his pitch count indicates Anderson needs to firmly address this issue. When he pitch count rises above 100, that usually means an early departure. On May 15 at Philadelphia, Anderson threw 104 pitches, but lasted only into the sixth in losing that game. On June 6 at home against the Mets, he tossed 107 into the sixth inning and came away with a no-decision. On July 10 at Citi Field against the Mets, he threw 101 pitches and lasted only into the fifth inning. Anderson ended up losing that one, and was eventually sent to the minors with a 5-5 mark, 4.51 ERA in 21 starts.
Anderson is scheduled to pitch this Sunday in Cincinnati. When asked about his rotation, now that Anderson is no longer in the picture, Hale was undecided. He hinted Josh Collmenter could get the start or a starter from the minors might be recalled.
ON TO THE QUEEN CITY
After dropping their second consecutive series on this road trip to the Braves and Pirates, the Diamondbacks move to Cincinnati. Here, they will engage the Reds in a four game set, and then return home.
In the opener Thursday night, it’s lefty Patrick Corbin (3-3, 3.43 ERA) taking on right-hander John Lamb (0-1, 7.50). Lamb was recently acquired from Kansas City in the Johnny Cueto deal.
On Friday night, look for righty Rubby De La Rosa (10-5, 4.50) opposing left-hander and former Diamondback farm hand David Holmberg (1-2, 5.95). For Saturday, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson opposes righty Anthony DeScalafini (7-8, 3.72). For the finale Sunday afternoon, manager Chip Hale will announced a replacement for Chase Anderson in this spot. The Reds will counter with righty Raisel Iglesias (3-4, 4.21).
Then, it’s back to Chase Field for a seven game home stand. The St. Louis Cardinals are the first team to visit, and engage the Diamondbacks in a four game series. That’s followed by three-game, weekend set against the Oakland A’s.