Facing the Yankees’ vaunted lineup isn’t the easiest way to break into the big leagues, even if it’s not at full strength. Ian Anderson didn’t seem phased.
Anderson was brilliant for the Braves in his major league debut Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader, holding the Yanks hitless for 5 1/3 innings before a Luke Voit solo homer. Voit’s dinger was the only hit the youngster allowed in his six frames.
Anderson whiffed six batters on the day, walked a pair and hit one. Eight of the 12 swinging strikes he induced came on the changeup, which is interesting because it’s generally viewed as his third-best pitch. Anderson topped out at just a hair under 96 mph.
Ranked by MLB.com as baseball’s No. 37 overall prospect coming into the season, Anderson posted a 4.0 BB/9 ratio in the minors. That ratio was 6.6 during his time at Triple-A last year. He’s going to get into some trouble when his control abandons him.
However, Anderson has also been incredibly difficult to hit. Batters hit .210 against him in 2020 between Double- and Triple-A. They hit just .199 in 2018 between High- and Double-A. Anderson also boasts a 10.7 K/9 ratio in his minor league career. That mark was 11.4 last season. He’s going to miss bats.
The Braves’ rotation has been hit hard by injuries, with Mike Soroka (Achilles) done for the season and Cole Hamels (triceps) not looking like a great bet to make it back. They also essentially gave up on Mike Foltynewicz after a slow start. The opportunity is there for Anderson to remain in the rotation. His next start will likely come at Boston early next week.
Three Games Postponed
Following the lead of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, the Brewers decided not to play Wednesday’s game against the Reds following the police shooting of Jacob Blake and subsequent protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Reds agreed and the game was postponed.
“What the Bucks did and what the NBA players have done, they've certainly been leaders, but our players did a courageous thing in Major League Baseball,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “They went first and I'm proud of them for that. They had a very good conversation about it, an important conversation, a meaningful conversation, and they chose to act. They said if not now, when are we going to act? We've had conversations, we've worn T-shirts, but this was a chance for some action and they decided to take it. I'm proud of them for that.”
Next, it was the Mariners’ turn. They voted to not play Wednesday versus the Padres, who obliged and the game was postponed.
“There are serious issues in this country,” Dee Gordon tweeted. “For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal. This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight. Instead of watching us, we hope people will focus on the things more important than sports that are happening.”
Finally, the Dodgers and Giants both agreed to not play Wednesday and the contest between those two rivals was postponed.
“Some things are bigger than sports, and I don’t think it should require athletes needing to boycott playoff games to remind us Black Lives Matter and that police brutality is unacceptable and that systemic racism needs to be eliminated,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “What I believe in most is speaking out and taking strong action based on your beliefs. I have the utmost respect for the players who are refusing to be silent about issues that are bigger than sports. Racism and police brutality are issues that we’re not going to be silent about, either.”
There were also a handful of players who chose not to participate in their team’s games Wednesday, from Jason Heyward to Dexter Fowler to Jack Flaherty to Matt Kemp. Mookie Betts and his manager, Dave Roberts, said they were going to sit out even if the rest of the Dodgers chose to play.
The Reds-Brewers, Mariners-Padres and Dodgers-Giants are all currently scheduled to play doubleheaders on Thursday, but obviously things are very much still up in the air with them and other teams right now.
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Judge Not in Session
Aaron Judge said just a couple days after being placed on the injured list that he already felt “100 percent” and was ready to play. That was 10 days before he was activated.
Five and a half innings later and he might be headed back to the IL.
Judge was removed from the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader versus the Braves after the top of the sixth inning when his right calf “tightened up” on him again. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that while the aggravation of the injury “doesn't seem to be overly serious,” he added that it’s “possible” Judge needs to go back on the IL.
“It’s frustrating, no question,” Boone said. “Obviously he's very frustrated. I think we'll have a better feel later [on Wednesday] and into [Thursday] exactly where he's at.”
Those who have Judge rostered in fantasy leagues are frustrated, too. He’s been fantastic when on the field, putting up a .292/.343/.738 batting line with nine home runs and 20 RBI. That’s come over just 18 games, though, which is only two-thirds of the number the Yanks have played. If Judge has only another minimum IL stay, he’ll miss an additional 12 games.
The Yankees are still well-positioned for a playoff spot, but they’ve lost five straight games and the injuries have really piled up. The Bombers are off Thursday before opening a five-game series over the weekend with the Mets.
American League Quick Hits: Rowdy Tellez went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI in the Blue Jays' rout of the Red Sox on Wednesday … Mike Clevinger turned in a quality start in his return to the roster Wednesday, allowing two runs over six innings against the Twins … Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said after Wednesday's game against the Cubs that Joe Jimenez will no longer be used as the team's closer. He’ll use a combination of Jose Cisnero, Gregory Soto and Buck Farmer to close out games … Mike Fiers worked six innings and allowed just an unearned run and three hits in defeating the Rangers on Wednesday, striking out seven batters along the way … Eloy Jimenez popped a three-run home run and reached base three times Wednesday as the White Sox blew out the Pirates.
National League Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom limited the Marlins to one run in seven innings while striking out 14 on Wednesday … Max Fried limited the Yankees to one run over six innings to move to 5-0 on Wednesday … Aaron Nola beat the Nationals with seven innings of two-run ball in the Phillies' victory Wednesday, fanning eight along the way … Ronald Acuna slugged a long solo home run in his first plate appearance back from the injured list Wednesday … Merrill Kelly is not expected to return this season following surgery Tuesday to remove a blood clot from his right shoulder … The Reds called up shortstop prospect Jose Garcia Wednesday. He’s expected to play regularly … The Nationals optioned Carter Kieboom to their alternate training site Wednesday … Pirates medical director Todd Tomczyk noted Wednesday that Keone Kela has yet to pick up a baseball since leaving an appearance last Friday with forearm tightness.