Dodgers News: Tyler Anderson Throwing Strikes & Trusting Defense During Scoreless Innings Streak

Tyler Anderson is putting together the best year of his career in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and although it’s only been 49.2 innings, the southpaw has become an invaluable member of the pitching staff.

The 32-year-old was originally signed as a depth piece, agreeing to a one-year, $8 million contract prior to the season beginning. He opened the year out of the bullpen and initially was used to piggyback Tony Gonsolin.

But Anderson has been so much more than a depth piece, posting a 2.90 ERA and 3.27 FIP through his nine games (seven starts) while providing the club with quality innings they need with Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Heaney out with injuries.

In addition Anderson making meaningful contributions, he also hasn’t allowed a run in two straight starts and 20 consecutive innings, which he attributes to being aggressive in the strike zone and letting defense do the work to get outs, via SportsNet LA:

“I think just staying in the strike zone. Trying to throw strikes to get ahead, and then trust our defense to make plays behind us.”

It wasn’t until Heaney went down with an injury that Anderson stepped into the rotation. When Anderson originally signed, he was no higher than sixth on the depth chart behind Walker Buehler, Kershaw, Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Heaney.

Although he was given the opportunity to compete for the final spot in the rotation, the club was committed to Heaney and Gonsolin. That made Anderson the odd man out, but he knew his time to make an impact as a starter would come:

“I had a feeling that during this stretch right now that we’re in, that I’d get a lot of starts. Thinking more that guys would be healthy and we would try to get guys as a sixth-day. But really when I signed here, I just wanted to be on a team that was going to win and have a chance to maybe do something special as a team, and just do whatever I can to help.”

So far, the only blemish on Anderson’s line came against the hot-hitting Philadelphia Phillies when he allowed seven runs on May 12. But despite struggling throughout the night, he was still able to give the Dodgers six innings while their bullpen needed rest.

It wasn’t the type of start that would earn him a significant contract after the season, but it was something that goes a long way to helping the team out, which teammates and manager Dave Roberts surely appreciated.

It remains to be seen how long Anderson will stick in the rotation as Heaney and Kershaw both move closer toward a return, but even if if there’s a shift back to the bullpen, he should continue to play an important role.

Heaney facing batters on Monday

Discomfort in Heaney’s throwing shoulder prevented him from picking up a baseball for three weeks. Fortunately for the 30-year-old, once he resumed playing catch it has come without any sort of setback.

Heaney has already thrown multiple bullpen sessions and was expected to face batters at Camelback Ranch on Sunday, but Roberts said that instead will take place at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

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