Nobody wants to start their season with a loss, but let’s face it — it was never going to be easy for Oakland Athletics ace Brett Anderson to come out of his Opening Day start with a win against the Seattle Mariners with Felix Hernandez sharing the mound.
But, the team’s offense made sure to return the favor in the hard-luck loser’s second start in 2013 on Sunday, clobbering Lucas Harrell of the Houston Astros for eight runs through the first four-plus innings en route to giving their No. 1 his first win of the season.
While I’m sure the offensive outburst was much appreciated by the 25-year old, the truth is that he really didn’t need all that much support on this day.
The lefty simply dominated the Astros lineup, setting down Houston batters with relative ease through a scoreless six innings of work, allowing five hits and a pair of walks while striking out a whopping 10 batters in the process.
They weren’t just any old regular strikeouts either, as eight out of the 10 strikeouts were swinging whiffs, and all but two came off of the Anderson’s slider, which was near-unhittable on Sunday … well, at least it was hard to hit it anywhere but weakly on the ground, as a 7-1 GO-AO ratio suggests.
Those 10 strikeouts tied a career-high for the newly-anointed ace, who took a bit of an early day off after 92 pitches presumably because of the relatively safe lead and well, being hit by a comebacker a couple of times in the game probably warrants some rest, too.
I’d assume he would have been out there trying to set a new personal achievement otherwise, but obviously the team would rather be safe than sorry here.
Was it just the Astros offense, who’d be dominated by Yu Darvish in near-perfect fashion just five days prior, or is Anderson actually just that good?
As always, the answer is likely somewhere in the middle, but at this early point of the season, the Oakland ace seems to be showing no signs of slowing down after several speed bumps in his young career due to injuries.