Here in the remaining two months of the season, one of the plans for the Diamondbacks’ organization is to test the durability of starter Chase Anderson.
While pitching deep into a game represents a short-term goal, team officials would like to see how Anderson competes in September. Called up from Triple-A Reno in May, Anderson, in his brief professional career, has never pitched deep into September and the Diamondbacks are interested in the issue of durability.
While addressing the immediate goal, Anderson latest six strong innings Saturday night but Pittsburgh scored four in the eighth and three more in the ninth to break this one wide open. That carried the Pirates to an 8-3 victory over the Diamondbacks before 33,151 in Chase Field and moved Pittsburgh to within 1 1/2 games of first place Milwaukee in National League Central Division.
Anderson turned in his fourth consecutive "quality start" but another no-decision, his third straight. If the Diamondbacks desire Anderson to go deep into games, he reached seven innings only twice in his 13 starts. Against the Pirates Saturday, he left a 1-1 game and Josh Hamilton’s one-out, home run in the third was the only run Anderson allowed.
“I had some issues early with my command but things were better later in the game,” Anderson said. “I just want to give my team a chance to win and improve each time out.”
The desire for Anderson to go deep both into games and into the season does not present a challenge for the 26-year-old. In facing the Pirates Saturday, that represented Anderson’s 13th start for Arizona and 19th on the season. That includes six starts with Double-AA Mobile before his recall to the Diamondbacks on May 10.
Last season, Anderson started 13 games in the 26 appearances he made with Triple-A Reno.
Now, the Diamondbacks are asking Anderson to extended his games and season, and he is willing to listen
“I feel good and I know what they want,” Anderson said. “I’m willing to do whatever they ask. I’ve been on the DL before and I don’t want to go there again. I‘m watching my routine between starts and realize what‘s expected.”
Afterward, manager Kirk Gibson told reporters the organization will watch Anderson’s pitch count. While he tossed 99 pitches Saturday against the Pirates, the goal is a 90 to 100 pitch effort. For Anderson, the season has become a learning prism.
“Since they called me up, I’ve made some adjustments and controlling the count better,” he said. “I’m always learning and trying to sort things out.”
If the Diamondbacks were challenged Friday night by giving eight runs over the final two innings and losing to the Pirates, history repeated again Saturday.
Coming into a 1-1 game in the eighth, reliever Brad Ziegler let this one get away.
Two singles and catcher’s interference against Miguel Montero allowed the Pirates to forge into a 2-1 lead. With runners on second and third with one out, Russell Martin sent a chopper to the mound. While Gregory Polanco scored from third, Ziegler’s throw to first hit Martin and that allowed Andrew McCutchen to score. Brett Morel followed with a double off the center field fence and when Martin came around to score, the Pirates broke this open with a four spot in the frame.
In the ninth, Alan Trammell, who guided the Diamondbacks after Gibson’s third inning ejection, brought in Randall Delgado. After a one-out walk to Harrison and double from Polanco, Delgado drilled McCutchen in the back. Many felt this was retaliation for Friday night when the Pirates’ Ernesto Frieri broke the left hand of Paul Goldschmidt with a pitched ball.
Immediately, plate umpire and crew chief Ron Kulpa threw Delgado out of the game but did not warn both benches.
“I was trying to mix up my pitches and that one got away,” Delgado said. “I didn’t have my control and, like I said, it got away.”
To that end, Gibson would not admit to the correlation between Goldschmidt and McCutchen, two of the best players in the game, hit on back-to-back nights. Instead, he simply said, “(Delgado’s) pitch got away.”
While that sounded familiar, Montero indicated the obvious.
“(Delgado) was wild and did not have any command,” the catcher said. “We were trying to go in on (McCutchen). There was a base open and we started off by pitching inside.”
An angry McCutchen drilled his bat into the ground and started off to first base. He did not look back toward the mound. Had he glanced, Delgado disappeared into the Diamondbacks dugout and the game was completed without further incident.
GOING, GOING, GONE
Manager Kirk Gibson was ejected at the start of the third inning for what was called “excessive arguing.”
Tossed by plate umpire and crew chief Ron Kulpa, Gibson protested a catch by Pirates’ centerfielder Andrew McCutchen.
With one out and Jordan Pacheco on first with a single in the second inning, Andy Marte sent a liner to right center and McCutchen made a diving, one-handed grab. While the television reply clearly showed that McCutchen did not make the catch, Gibson challenged the call on the field.
After a review by Kulpa and first base umpire Ed Hickox, who ran out to make the call, the catch was upheld and Marte ruled out. Pirates’ starter Vance Worley then struck out Chase Anderson to end the inning.
That’s when Gibson came out of the dugout and argued that the replay showed McCutchen did not made the catch. Though Kulpa never raised his right arm to formally eject Gibson, the Diamondbacks manager suffered his third ejection of the season and 10th as Arizona’s skipper.
Later, Gibson told reporters he was tossed while in the dugout and not on the field in conversation with Kulpa.
The Pirates’ series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-8, 5.59 ERA) takes the hill for the D-backs and opposes lefty Francisco Liriano (3-7, 3.97). Liriano has a no-hitter to his credit. While pitching for the Minnesota Twins, he no-hit the White Sox in Chicago on May 3, 2011.
After a day off Monday, the Kansas City Royals move in for an inter-league, three game set. The home stand concludes next weekend with three against NL West Division-rival Colorado Rockies.