There are easier ways to ease back into action than with the tasks awaiting Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson.
Anderson gets to pitch against — and bat against — the best pitcher in baseball Tuesday night, when he is slated to come off the injured list to oppose Jacob deGrom and the host New York Mets in the middle game of a three-game series.
The Mets earned a 4-2 win Monday night, when Pete Alonso delivered a tie-breaking two-run double during a three-run seventh inning.
Anderson (2-5, 4.69 ERA) has been shelved since June 22, a day after he suffered a right knee contusion while pitching against the Arizona Diamondbacks. deGrom (7-2, 0.95), who was named to the National League All-Star team for the fourth time Sunday, will be looking to continue his pursuit of Bob Gibson, whose 1.12 ERA in 1968 is the lowest full-season mark of the live-ball era.
Gibson had a 1.30 ERA through 14 starts in 1968.
“He has video game numbers,” Anderson said of deGrom. “Anytime you’re mentioned with Bob Gibson, that’s pretty impressive company.”
deGrom’s ERA actually climbed above 1.00 for several innings last Thursday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after giving up three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out 14 over seven innings in the Mets’ 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves scored all three runs in the first and recorded two hits in the second before deGrom retired the final 18 batters he faced, including 12 by strikeout. deGrom whiffed eight straight from the fourth through the sixth — the second time this season he’s struck out eight consecutive batters and the fourth time he’s done so in his career. The only other pitcher with as many as two such streaks is Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
“When he got his poise back, he was who we know he is,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said following the game. “Fourteen strikeouts in seven innings. This guy is the best pitcher in the game, no doubt.”
Opposing pitchers are 0-for-19 with one walk and 15 strikeouts in 20 plate appearances against deGrom this season. Anderson is 0-for-14 with three walks in his 12 starts.
“I’m going to start swinging now, just in case,” Anderson said. “Get ready for (Tuesday).”
Anderson allowed three runs over 1 1/3 innings and took the loss against the Diamondbacks, which happened the day before the Brewers embarked upon their 11-game winning streak. The injured list stint is the second of the season for Anderson, who was sidelined from Apr. 24 through May 8 with a strained right hamstring.
Anderson has never faced the Mets in the regular season. As a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, he took the loss against New York in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, when he allowed six runs over three innings as the Dodgers fell, 13-7.
deGrom is 3-3 with a 4.80 ERA in eight starts against the Brewers — his highest ERA against any opponent he’s faced more than once.
–Field Level Media