One of the early storylines in spring training has been Chase Anderson’s efforts to rework his mechanics in an attempt to find the pitch location that brought him so much success in 2017.
His first couple of outings in the Cactus League are a good reminder that these things take more than 3 innings to figure out. After making one bad pitch that cost him a 2-run home run against a former MVP in his first outing, Anderson gave up two more home runs in his second spring outing as he pitched the 3rd and 4th innings against the Padres.
Trying a new delivery can lead to some wonky release points and mixed results, which is what we saw in Anderson’s first inning. He looked like the Anderson of old in his first at-bat, burning off the outside corner with a fastball to get Allen Craig looking on strikes. But then an awkward-looking delivery on a breaking ball led to him hitting Greg Garcia in the back of the leg before grooving a fastball to one of the best prospects in baseball, Fernando Tatis, Jr.:
Anderson got a groundout to get out of that inning, then forced two more quick groundouts to start his second inning of work before again leaving a fastball over the middle of the plate, which Austin Hedges launched out for the second home run before Anderson got out of the inning without further incident.
Change was never going to happen overnight, and we should warn against making any judgments on Anderson’s role with the 2019 team based on three early-spring innings where he’s still trying to get a feel for things in active competition. It’s worth noting the pitches that are getting hit over the fence tend to be his only mistakes — he’s only allowed 4 hits so far, but 3 have been home runs.
Before Anderson took the mound, Zach Davies pitched the first two innings and looked sharp, allowing just a single walk and no hits while forcing plenty of weak contact.
Corbin Burnes, Jake Petricka, Deolis Guerra, Adrian Houser, and Luke Barker put up zeroes the rest of the way after Anderson’s up-and-down outing, although Houser did struggle in his inning, throwing more than 30 pitches while walking 3 and striking out one.
Offensively, there wasn’t much to note, despite the team managing 8 hits. The Brewers’ only run came on what might be the most early-Spring Training inning you could draw up -- Hernan Perez reached base on a fielder’s choice when Mike Moustakas tried to run to third on a ground ball hit in front of him, later stole second when the first baseman wasn’t covering on a pickoff throw, then a little later tried to steal third and appeared to be thrown out before the ball got away from the third baseman, allowing him to run home and score.
Yasmani Grandal did pick up his first hit of the spring on a double off the wall, but was eventually stranded at second base.
Keston Hiura also picked up his first hit of the young Cactus League season in the 9th inning, but was stranded at third base to end the game.
The Cactus Crew falls to 1-3 with a game against Cleveland tomorrow afternoon. Jhoulys Chacin will be among the pitchers scheduled to appear, but we won’t see Christian Yelich in a lineup until Thursday. Lorenzo Cain is expected to get his first game action before the week is done, but Ryan Braun won’t play until sometime next week.