The visiting Atlanta Braves hope to see more encouraging signs from rookie Ian Anderson when he makes his second career start on Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox.
Anderson (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will be opposed by right-hander Ryan Weber (0-2, 6.00 ERA) in the middle game of a three-game series. The Braves won the opener 6-3 on Monday.
Anderson, a rangy right-hander, is the top pitching prospect in the Atlanta organization. He showed why in his first major league start, in New York against the Yankees on Aug. 26.
Anderson went 5 1/3 innings before allowing his first hit — a solo homer to Luke Voit — and gave up only one run in six innings.
With Mike Soroka out for the season with an Achilles injury, the Braves are in dire need of innings from their starting rotation. The inability of the starters to go past the fourth or fifth inning has taxed the team’s talented bullpen. Anderson could lessen that problem.
“Obviously, my goal is to be here and stay here,” Anderson said. Adding that in his debut, he “was able to show that a little bit.”
Manager Brian Snitker said, “It was pretty impressive. He slowed the game down well. He had confidence in his pitches. He wasn’t afraid of anything, I know that. He trusted his stuff. He got in the strike zone, and that was really fun to watch.”
Atlanta’s starting pitchers are 7-10 this season with a 5.46 ERA (87 earned runs in 143 1/3 innings). Other than Max Fried, who is 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA, the other Atlanta starters are 1-10 with a 7.23 ERA (79 earned runs in 98 1/3 innings).
Weber began the season in the rotation, but he was moved to the bullpen after failing to pitch more than 3 2/3 innings in any of his three starts. He allowed 11 runs in 10 combined innings. His most recent relief appearance came on Aug. 26, when he gave up three runs in 2 2/3 innings. He has never faced the Atlanta Braves.
The Red Sox have been leaning heavily on their bullpen. Their relievers have thrown a major league-most 168 2/3 innings this season. They had a streak of 12 scoreless relief innings end on Monday night.
But there was bad news on Monday when Boston placed left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez on the injured list with a sprained left SC joint, which links the sternum to the clavicle.
Hernandez had not allowed a run in three outings since being activated from the injured list on Aug. 20. He started the season late after testing positive for COVID-19. The club is doing its best to protect the 23-year-old prospect.
“There’s some inflammation there,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. “The decision was to IL him and give himself a little more chance to rest before we get going again.”
Offensively, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been on a tear. Over the last 13 games, Bogaerts is hitting .360 (18-for-50) with three doubles, four homers and 12 RBIs. Since Aug. 4, right fielder Alex Verdugo is batting .326 (31-for-95).
The Atlanta offense has been led by Freddie Freeman. The first baseman was 2-for-4 on Monday and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
–Field Level Media