Following a desperate search to fill a critical spot the rotation, the Diamondbacks may have settled on an acceptable starting pitcher.
The search for a fifth starter has been as elusive as finding shade in the searing desert sun.
After Trevor Cahill was banished to the bullpen and Mike Bolsinger pitcher himself back to Triple-A Reno, Chase Anderson has stepped in and put a finger in the dyke.
In three starts with Arizona since his recall from Reno on May 6, Anderson, a 26-year-old from Wichita Falls, Tex., has won all three of his starts and is the first pitcher in franchise history to win his first three major league starts.
In the last two victories over the Dodgers and Padres, Anderson was supported with double-digit run production and an eight run, first inning on Wednesday night high-lighted his latest triumph.
More important, Anderson is getting people out with a measure of proficiency.
“You really can’t do what you’re not capable,” he said in the clubhouse before Thursday’s game with Cincinnati. “You need to be aware of what you can do and then execute. The key is location. To be successful, you have to have location.”
For his part, Anderson seems to be out-smarting his opposition, Rarely does his fastball rise above 90-92 miles per hour but his assortment can be stifling. Anderson’s change was rated one of the best of prospects by Baseball America, and he continues to challenge hitters with an array of pitches.
“(Anderson) throws all of his pitches and his location is strong,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “Plus, he uses both sides of the plate effectively.”
Then, Gibson paid a strong complement.
“(Anderson) is a survivor,” he added. “Take what happened in his last start.”
That would be a 12-6 win over San Diego Wednesday night. During the fifth inning, Anderson was struck on the left shin with a smash off the bat of Jedd Gyorko with two outs. Anderson shook off the injury and stayed in to complete the required five innings for the decision.
“We’ve pushed him a little in his starts here,” Gibson added. “As we go forward, I would like to see him go deeper in games.”
Among his three starts so far at the major league level, the longest Anderson pitched was 5 1/3 innings against each the White Sox and Dodgers and five innings in his latest win against San Diego.
Against Cincinnati lefty Tony Cingrani Thursday night, catcher Miguel Montero was given a rare day off.
Currently, the Diamondbacks are in the middle of a stretch in which they play 33 games in 34 days and Montero has appeared in 50 of the 55 games prior to Thursday night. At that point, Montero leads all catchers in games with 48 and innings caught (426 1/3).
“Miggy is healthy and feeling fine,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “We do need to rest him from time-to-time and we’re in that stretch of games where players will rest.”
Against Cingrani, back-up Tuffy Gosewisch (.241, one home run, four RBIs) was in the starting line-up and hitting eighth.