LOS ANGELES - Poise and confidence.
So far in his brief major league career, Diamondbacks’ right-hander Chase Anderson has promptly displayed these imperative characteristics for success. Though the results were not gratifying, that character was demonstrated Friday night in Dodger Stadium.
After a shaky start, Anderson settled into a proficient groove and clearly gave the D-backs a chance to be competitive with Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ two-time Cy Young Award winner. In this one, the Diamondbacks fell behind early, could not recover and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Dodgers before 42,831 here on the edge of the San Gabriel mountains.
The loss extended the Diamondbacks’ losing streak to three and they are now 3-9 this season against Los Angeles.
For his part, Anderson left trailing 2-1 and the Dodgers could only get to Anderson with Matt Kemp’s two-run homer to left center-field in the second inning. Lasting through five innings, Anderson allowed those two runs, just four hits, walked four and fanned four hitters and his season mark dropped to 5-1.
Yet, that pitch to Kemp haunted Anderson, who yielded his sixth home run in six starts and over 45.0 innings of work.
“It was a hanging curve and just a bad pitch,” Anderson said afterward. “Down the middle and he made me paid. Yes, I’d like to have that back.”
Despite hanging with Kershaw, Anderson did not have his best fast ball. Lack of fast ball command was the way manager Kirk Gibson described Anderson’s execution.
“I couldn’t establish the fast ball command,” Anderson said. “Usually, by the third or fourth inning, things fall into place, but not (Friday night). I just couldn’t find it.”
Though he managed to stay with Kershaw, Anderson’s modest but personal winning streak was napped at five games. Still, his 5-0 start represented a tie for second in the longest winning streak to start a major league career since 1914. The record is six held by the Dodgers’ Kazuhisa Ishii in 2002. Anderson is now tied with Fred Frankhouse of the Cardinals, who started his career with five straight wins in 1927.
Before the game, Gibson indicated Anderson’s early success was fueled by confidence and utilization of his three major pitches, fastball, curve and change.
The effective change was clearly evident as early as the first inning when Anderson took the bat out of Yasil Puig’s bat and struck out the Dodgers’ right-fielder on changes low and away. In all, Puig, who was hitting ,328 coming into the game, went 0-for-3, two struck outs and ground out against Anderson. Yet, it was a hanging change to Kemp which cost Anderson his unblemished record.
“That doesn’t bother me,” Anderson said of his first defeat of the season. “I’m pretty much an even-keel person.”
Though he dropped his initial decision of the season, Anderson’s ERA remained relatively stable. It was 3.14 at the start of the game to his present 3.21.
In earlier starts, Anderson pitched with sizable run support. In his previous five wins, the Diamondbacks scored a total of 43 runs in those starts and Friday night was the first time he was locked in a tight game and with Kershaw, one of the game’s best pitchers.
“I’ve learned how to minimize the damage,” Anderson said. “My job is to keep us in the game and too bad we couldn’t come up with a W (Friday night).”
In the end, the Diamondbacks mounted a slight come-back and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch’s single in the eighth scored Aaron Hill and cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-2.
Gosewisch, who will start Saturday’s game, chipped in with a 3-for-4 night and a career-high three hits in one game. In his previous three games, the former Arizona State University catcher was 0-for-8.
In the L. A. half of the eighth, reliever Evan Marshall could not keep the Dodgers at bay. He surrendered a single to pinch-hitter Justin Turner, which scored A. J. Ellis but Marshall then retired the side without additional damage.
The Diamondbacks managed to get to Kenley Jensen for one in the ninth but the Dodgers’ closer retired Cody Ross on a fly to center with two on and two out to end the game.
THAT’S A WRAP
The series continues Saturday at 7:10 p.m. with Josh Collmenter (4-3, 3.65 ERA) going against former Diamondback Dan Haren (6-4, 3.49)
In Sunday’s finale at 1:10 p.m., Bronson Arroyo (6-4, 4.22) opposes right-hander Josh Beckett (4-3, 2.35), who no-hit the Phillies on May 25.
The D-backs then return to Chase Field for a nine-game home stand with four with Milwaukee, three with San Francisco and two with Cleveland.