I’ve said this before on the blog talking about Aaron Harang (before the Indians somewhat foolishly let him go before Opening Day 2014), and Scott Elarton, and even Shaun Marcum, but I love having an underdog 5th starter type that I can look forward to rooting for every fifth day. Guys like TJ House – no disrespect to him intended at all – just don’t inspire the same kind of storyline for me. You don’t want your fifth starter to be a guy whose ceiling is “5th starter,” you want a guy whose ceiling is way above that (Scott Kazmir coming off of injury and being left for dead by the major leagues) or way below that – at least perceptually.
Cody Anderson is definitely the latter kind of pitcher. He’s a guy who stalled out at AA (spending 3 seasons there), a guy who didn’t have the right build or the right stuff to make it to the bigs. A few years ago, to think that Cody Anderson would be making a start on Father’s Day (as opposed to a September call up) would be mind boggling, even at the beginning of this season you’d have to think he was way down on the depth chart.
That, as they say, is what makes baseball so great.
Anderson took the mound on Father’s Day obviously amped up to be here, as his velocity was a tick above what scouts have reported at AAA (he’s normally a 92-93 guy, he was sitting 95-96 in the 1st). Despite overthrowing a bit, the rookie was painting the corners and struck out two in his first professional inning.
The rest of the game was exactly what you’d hope and dream from your young fifth starter: 7.2 scoreless innings scattering 6 hits and recording 4 strikeouts. This marked the first time in his professional career that he pitched into the 8th inning.
That’s right, never at A, never at AA, and never at AAA. Cody saved his best for his debut.
Unfortunately, I can’t talk about this being his first win at the Major Leagues because the Indians, after putting up 2 runs in the first 18 innings of the series, went scoreless for the first 8.2 of this game. Considering the opposing pitcher today was Alex Colome, who is everybody’s definition of ‘average’ (again, no disrespect intended), it’s fair to lob some questions at this mostly ineffective Indians lineup. We know they will struggle against lefties, they can’t be struggling against Alex Colome.
But, the offense did just enough to save themselves from some really scathing criticism as David Murphy hit a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th inning that barely (one might say fortunately) scored Roberto Perez. Perez looked to be running in quicksand and I heard some fans wondering if Gomes is really incapable of playing due to the fact Tito did not go to a pinch runner. That decision almost cost the Indians the game.
But, it did not. They scored 3 runs in 3 games and went 1-2. Things could be worse.
But for now, let’s appreciate what Cody Anderson brought to the table today. It was a great performance, and I wish the kid many more.