To say the least, the pandemic-shortened baseball season has created its share of oddities. For example, San Francisco Giants left-hander Tyler Anderson recently faced Arizona in three consecutive starts.
He was so happy to pitch against someone else, the visiting Seattle Mariners on Sept. 9, that he went six scoreless innings in a 10-1 victory.
When Anderson (2-3, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday, he again will be facing the Mariners, this time in Seattle.
"That is a funky left-hander. He's got a lot of moving parts," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We knew coming into (the Sept. 9 game) kind of what he was going to do, but deception means a lot in this game. When you're not used to seeing a guy very often, he was a little funky, and he pitched a good ballgame."
Anderson had mixed results in three starts against the Diamondbacks in a 14-day span. He pitched his first career complete game Aug. 22, before giving up 11 runs over 8 2/3 innings in the next two outings combined.
Anderson, who missed most of the 2019 season while rehabilitating from left knee surgery, blamed himself for those last two games against Arizona.
"I ran into myself," Anderson said. "I pitched well, and then not having pitched a lot over the last year and a half and only have a few starts in there, it just seemed like I wanted to try something different. Like, 'OK, now I'm going to do this,' instead of just trusting like, 'Hey, your stuff is fine, just do what you do.' I think that was more of a product of not pitching in a while and not trusting myself," Anderson said.
The Giants (23-24) will try to regroup after losing both games of a doubleheader Sunday against San Diego. Despite three straight defeats, San Francisco remains in position for a National League wild-card playoff berth.
"We're still right there where we need to be," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "We've got the Mariners coming up. We need to be prepared for them. I expect us to bounce back well, as we have all season from periods of play that isn't our best.
"We've been able to be resilient and be tough in those times so far this season. I see no reason why we won't be going forward. We'll be prepared coming out of the off day," Kapler said.
The Mariners (22-26) had an eight-game home winning streak snapped with a 9-0 loss in the second game of a doubleheader Monday against Oakland. They rallied from a five-run deficit to win the opener 6-5.
Mariners right-hander Ljay Newsome (0-0, 3.24 ERA) is scheduled to make his third career major league start and second in a row against San Francisco.
A week ago in the Bay Area, the Giants' Brandon Crawford led off the second inning and hit a 100-mph liner off Newsome's right wrist, knocking the rookie from the game. The Mariners' bullpen allowed three homers in a 6-5 defeat.
"I thought (Newsome) was throwing the ball pretty good," Servais said. "(The comebacker) changed the makeup of the game."
Newsome acknowledged it was frustrating getting KO'd, especially when the Mariners' hitters staked him to a 4-1 lead.
"It's kind of crazy," he said. "I've been hit plenty of times. I've never come out of a game, though. It was different. It was slo-mo almost. I saw it the whole way, I just couldn't get my glove over, so it was just my initial reaction to get my arm up and protect myself."
When Servais and trainer Rob Nodine went to the mound, they could see seam marks from the ball on Newsome's wrist.
"He got smoked pretty good," Servais said. "We'll have to wait and see if he'll be available to make his next start. Hopefully he can."
--Field Level Media
Giants, Mariners renew acquaintances in 3-game series