With the Los Angeles Dodgers on the brink of elimination heading into Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Tyler Anderson was tasked with taking the mound for the biggest start of his career in only a second postseason appearance.
It also was the most important game of the Dodgers’ season.
For five innings of work, the 32-year-old did exactly what was asked of him: keep the San Diego Padres bats (and crowd) quiet as L.A. looked to save their season and force a winner-take-all Game 5 at Dodger Stadium.
Dazzling on the mound while facing 19 batters and throwing 86 pitches, Anderson allowed just two hits and struck out six without allowing a run.
When Anderson was greeted with handshakes in the dugout after a job well done through five innings, the Dodgers seemed to be in a solid position as they held a 2-0 lead and were trusting a stout bullpen to get the NLDS to a Game 5.
However, for the Padres, Anderson getting removed felt like a shift in momentum and opportunity, Joe Musgrove told Kyle Gaser of Baseball America:
“Once we got Anderson out of the game, he’s been giving us a tough time all year, so once he came out of the game, we knew that we had a good shot.”
Musgrove, who provided a solid start of his own by delivering six innings on the mound, allowing just two runs and six hits, offered an inside perspective on the confidence the Padres offense had in their ability to mount a comeback despite the Dodgers bullpen being a strong group.
As Musgrove noted, Anderson enjoyed plenty of success against San Diego this season. In four starts he held them to a combined five runs over 24 innings pitched, good for a 1.88 ERA, and collected 16 strikeouts in the process. The Padres hit just .183 against Anderson in those games.
Anderson had been brilliant against their offense all season: in four regular season starts against San Diego he allowed just five earned runs in 24.0 innings while striking out 16 to a tune of a 1.88 ERA.
Anderson enjoyed postseason experience with Dodgers
After signing a one-year contract with the Dodgers, Anderson continued to emphasize his focus was on helping the team win and he was open to any role.
Anderson reiterated that message after Game 4 and expressed his gratitude for being with a strong organization that was in position to compete for a World Series.
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