Call it a Dodgers thing.
Although they already were deep in starting pitching, the Los Angeles Dodgers invested $16.5 million last offseason in free-agent starting pitchers Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson.
The team has so much starting pitching, in fact, that it told Anderson he probably wouldn’t start for the Dodgers. And the left-hander didn’t care.
“I just wanted to be part of a team that is going to win,” he said during spring training. “I knew coming in what I was going to be doing. We had a set rotation, and we have more starters who are injured and will probably be ready later in the season.
“I figured I might have a chance to go out at some point and probably get a start. I’m going to do whatever I can.”
That chance will come Saturday night in San Diego when Anderson (1-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his 114th career start and first start as a Dodger against Padres right-hander Yu Darvish (1-1, 6.28).
Anderson is starting because Heaney went on the injured list earlier this week with left-shoulder discomfort.
“This is one of the reasons why we signed Anderson,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Anderson has made two appearances with the Dodgers, working the back end of a piggyback with Tony Gonsolin both times. He has worked eight innings, giving up two runs on four hits, with eight strikeouts.
Last year, Anderson had a 7-11 record and a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts for Pittsburgh and Seattle. The 32-year-old has a career 30-38 record with a 4.59 ERA.
The Padres will counter with their veteran Opening Day starter. This will be Darvish’s fourth start of the season.
Two of his starts have been very good. On Opening Day, he no-hit the Diamondbacks for six innings before departing. In his third start, he held Atlanta to one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
In between was one of the worst starts of his 10-year career in the majors. On April 12 in San Francisco, Darvish gave up nine runs on eight hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings.
“It was one of those things,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “It was a cold and windy night. It was like we were back playing in Candlestick Park.”
While Melvin admits the importance of any game against the Dodgers, he also is stressing the perspective of a long season to his team.
“You know the energy is going to be there,” Melvin said of the series before the Padres lost the opening game 6-1 Friday. “Our focus is on today’s game, just like it would be any game that we play. But I know for the fans there is a little more to it, and there should be more excitement here.
“I’m looking forward to hearing that even though every day is certainly not a disappointment here in terms of the fan base. This probably adds a little bit more with the Southern California rivalry.”
–Field Level Media