If Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson is a betting man, he would likely put a few dollars on Chase Anderson and Wade Miley to emerge as 2015 starters.
While the other three are projected out, Anderson, among the two, should stand a better chance to survive into next season. That’s because the Arizona management may use Miley as trade potential in the up-coming off-season.
Still, Anderson could emerge as one of the cornerstone of the Diamondbacks’ future rotation. His production, work habits and character have interacted to create a positive force in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse.
Due to the now-manageable work load and care given between starts, Anderson’s contribution, going forward, could be significant.
After the right-hander defeated the Rockies in Chase Field Friday night, Anderson’s reached 2-0 in his five starts with a 1.71 ERA in those games. As well, he has allowed two or less earned runs in 11 of his 14 starts in Sedona Red.
Overall, his stands at 7-4 and his 3.06 ERA is second on the team. Only reliever Oliver Perez (1.81) is lower.
A drastic change in his between-starts work assignment represents a major factor for the improved numbers.
“In the minors, I would push myself between starts and after coming out of games, I was exhausted,” he said. “So tired I would probably could have not talked with the media.”
When Gibson shut Anderson down between July 7 and July 22, the hope was the native of Wichita Falls, Tex. would have greater endurance and a lasting a measure of strength. With the strength, comes stamina and durability. Clearly, these two qualities remains paramount in a pitcher’s quest to go deep into games.
“With Chase, we’ve modified his workouts,” Gibson said. “We do that with many pitchers between starts, and position players, for that matter. It’s a move to improve their mechanics. At this time of the season, we’re trying to pair down all of the players.”
While Gibson says Anderson’s best pitch right now is his change, there remains a target directly on his radar screen.
“(Anderson) needs to improve his fast ball command,” Gibson pointed out. “He tends to nibble with his fast ball and experience will tell him how and when to throw.”
By his own admission, Anderson says he throws too many pitches in a game. While that represents another immediate goal, Anderson is also the first to admit that he also has to throw quality pitches.
In beating the Rockies Friday night, he threw 104 pitches in just six innings of work. That represented the most in any game and he tossed 103 pitches during a 9-1 win over the Marlins on July 7.
In the past, Gibson said he would allow Anderson around 95 to 100 pitches before pulling the hook. Because Anderson remains on a leash, he can expect to throw around 90 or so in a game. That means he likely will not last past the sixth or seventh inning.
While his fate in future games is then up the bullpen, Anderson hopes to cut down in a critical aspect.
“Sure, I’d like to get the number of pitches down and then the economy of pitches becomes important,” he said. “First pitch strike and fast ball command are important but, at the same time, I need to learn how to pace myself.”
At the same time, the Diamondbacks are pushing Anderson into alien terrority. While his minor league seasons in the past ended at the Labor Day holiday, the major league season continues into late September. That means nearly another month added to an already marathon.
At this point, Anderson is realistic about his work load between starts, looks ahead, and adds emphatically , “I want to finish strong.”