Cody Anderson had roughly 60 friends and family members in attendance at the Oakland Coliseum for his first major league start in his home state. You could even hear them cheering at times (when they managed to make more noise than the constant cacophony of drumming and honking at the Coliseum). Unfortunately, they did not have much to cheer for tonight – he surrendered three earned runs on six hits. It was more than enough for an anemic Indians offense that managed just one run on five hits.
While tonight’s game was an improvement over Anderson’s rough starts against Kansas City and Milwaukee, it was obviously not as good as his first four major league starts. Tonight may be the norm for Anderson; while his ERA coming into tonight’s game was 3.26, his FIP was 4.50. Thanks to the Indians defense, most Tribe pitchers have an FIP much lower than their ERA. Anderson was due for a regression and now we’re seeing that. There aren’t a lot of great options for a fifth starter, other than the injured Josh Tomlin (who is making his way back from the disabled list). I’d still rather stick with Anderson for now; he may not blow anyone away, but at least his performance is acceptable for a fifth starter.
Speaking of the Indians defense, while it has been better than 2014 so far this season, there are still issues. Carlos Santana made a throwing error that led to an unearned run, but you’re not going to win many games in which you score just one run. Lonnie Chisenhall, making just his second major league start in the outfield, gunned a runner out at home to save a run.
Chisenhall was the lone bright spot for this game tonight – the Indians’ lone run came from his solo home run in the fifth inning. Since his recall from Columbus, Chisenhall has done well in right field, and has gone 4 for 8 at the plate (including a 3 for 4 performance last night). Perhaps Chisenhall performs best when his back is against the wall? He loses his everyday position at third base last year, and he starts the season on fire at the plate. He gets sent to Triple-A, and comes back smacking the ball all over the place. Who knows whether or not it is sustainable; it’s still been better than watching Brandon Moss attempt to hit.
Michael Bourn got another hit tonight, and his hitting .389/.436/.472 since the All Star Break. While I don’t think he’ll be able to sustain this pace, the lineup could really use a solid contribution from him for the rest of the year.
Even though rookie pitcher Aaron Brooks looked like a Cy Young contender tonight, tomorrow the Indians will face an actual Cy Young contender in Sonny Gray. The last time they saw him in Cleveland, they managed just two hits. Trevor Bauer is going to have to be close to perfect, in order to give the team any chance of victory.