Anderson’s Early Mistake All Cardinals Need to Beat Dodgers

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Brett Anderson pitched well in today’s rubber match of a potential playoff scenario, but his mistake to Jhonny Peralta in the first inning was all the Cardinals needed to defeat the Dodgers 3-1.

Dodgers 1 2 0

Cardinals 3 8 0

Martinez (W) Anderson (L) Rosenthal (S)

Anderson came into today’s game leading all of baseball in groundball-induced outs at 68.4%. So it made sense that St. Louis would score first with a towering homerun. Baseball is nothing if not laced with subtle ironies. Peralta’s homerun to center-left also drove in Matt Carpenter who had singled to left just prior.

Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez showed great control early, striking out Joc Pederson and new guy Alberto Callaspo to start the game. Martinez threw a first pitch strike to the first five Dodgers he faced until Andre Ethier took a pitch away, singling to left in the 2nd inning. It would be the only hit Martinez would give up.

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Brett Anderson struggled with his command in the early going, following behind nearly every hitter. With 2 outs in the 2nd inning he threw back-to-back walks to the 8th and 9th hitters but minimized the damage when lead-off man Peter Bourjos hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing shortstop Jimmy Rollins to force out Carlos Martinez at second.

Coming into the game, Anderson had only walked 11 batters in 49 innings. Before the 3rd inning was over today he had already walked 3 more. He got his act together as the game progressed, at one point striking out 5 of 6 batters faced.

When he wasn’t striking out Cardinals he was picking them off. He got Jason Heyward trying to steal second in the 2nd inning, and Peter Bourjas doing the same in the 5th. Anderson’s nonchalant delivery to home fooled both runners eager to steal. Once they took off, Anderson threw over to Gonzalez who then completed the out by throwing on to Rollins covering second and making the easy tag.

Martinez put on a master-class in his 7 innings, holding the Dodgers to just one hit. In the 6th inning, pushing towards the 100 pitch mark, he seemed to lose his edge. After an easy strikeout of Brett Anderson, Martinez walked both Pederson and Callaspo. With Gonzalez at the plate, things looked bright for the Dodgers.

Martinez regrouped and struck out both Gonzalez and Kendrick to end the threat, luring both victims in with high fast balls and pitches away. Martinez followed that up with a 7-pitch 7th inning. He then handed over his 1-hitter to reliever Kevin Siegrist to start the 8th. After striking out Jimmy Rollins and Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson took Siegrist deep to right-center to bring the Dodgers within 1 run. It was the rookie’s 13th home run of the season, and his first off a left hander.

May 31, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) tags out St. Louis Cardinals right fielder

Jason Heyward

(22) during the second inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Anderson was removed after 6 innings for Chris Hatcher. Anderson gave up just the 2 runs on the early home run, 5 hits, 3 walks, and collected 5 strikeouts.

Hatcher was removed with one out in the 8th in favor of Yimi Garcia. He left with runners on first and second, both reaching on walks. Hatcher pitched 1.1 innings giving up 1 hit along with the 2 walks.

Facing his first batter, Garcia gave up a single to shallow right to Peralta allowing Jon Jay to score from second, a run attributed to Hatcher.  I can’t help but wonder how many more chances Hatcher will get with this team. It’s a rare occurrence when he can face more than two batters without allowing someone to get on base.

After striking out Grichuk, Garcia gave up a single to Yadier Molina that dribbled out to left field. Matt Carpenter rounded third in an attempt to score but was thrown out with inches to spare by left fielder Kike Hernandez, ending the inning.

In the 9th, the meat of the Dodgers lineup faced Trevor Rosenthal, the closer with a 0.77 ERA who had already mowed down the Dodgers in the first game of this series. Adrian Gonzalez fouled out to left field and Kendrick grounded out to second. Ethier and Grandal then walked, making Rosenthal sweat a little bit before Justin Turner struck out looking (granted, both strikes 2 and 3 were well outside) and ended the game.

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  • Not a great result on the day, but the back end of the rotation showed well during what could have been a very painful series. A couple more timely runs scored and this could have been an entirely different weekend for the Dodgers. Knowing the pitching staff can hold its own against one of the best teams in baseball without the services of Kershaw or Greinke is sure to give this team some confidence.

    A concern would be the Dodgers continuing inability to consistently get positive results against the teams they should expect to face in October. They are now 2-7 against the Giants and 1-2 against the Cardinals. Forget leading the league in homeruns. As the season moves along, the Dodgers’ ability to manufacture those couple extra runs per game that are so crucial in these low-scoring affairs could be the difference of whether or not this team finds any kind of success in the postseason.

    Tomorrow the Dodgers head to Colorado where Clayton Kershaw will toe the rubber against Kyle Kendrick.

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