Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks took their third consecutive series Sunday behind the outstanding major-league debut of young Chase Anderson. It was the first time the D-backs have won six or more games on a road trip of nine games or longer since 2011. Until his masterful performance against the White Sox, Anderson had never pitched above Double-A, but was recently called up after sporting an incredible sub-1.00 ERA for the D-backs affiliate in Mobile after seven starts. And he continued his amazing run to start the season on Sunday.
Considering the circumstances, Anderson’s performance was certainly eye-opening. Coming into Chicago, pitching in U.S. Cellular Field – a notorious hitter’s park- as well as throwing in front of his mom on Mother’s Day, the young righty didn’t allow his nerves to get the best of him, which certainly would’ve been understandable. In fact, he was truly dominant on this special day. Until the 6th, he didn’t throw more than twelve pitches in an inning. At one point, he retired twelve consecutive hitters. He also struck out six, while allowing only three baserunners. In the bottom of the 6th, he did seem to get a little frazzled by the HR he allowed to Moses Sierra, following a ten pitch at-bat. He then tossed a four pitch walk to the next hitter, and his day was done, but it was certainly a memorable introduction to D-backs fans.
Other performances of note include those of Evan Marshall and Miguel Montero. Marshall followed his recent debut in Milwaukee with another fantastic outing, and has now struck out four of the seven hitters he’s faced since arriving to the roster. With a plus-fastball and a change-up that drops like a roller coaster, early on, it appears that he isn’t just up for a cup of coffee with the big team. Miguel Montero’s contributions on the day also definitely need to be mentioned. At the plate, he went 2 for 2, and his HR in the 8th basically put the game out of reach. He also drew two walks, got hit by a pitch, and maybe most importantly, called an excellent game, helping the young rookie to keep White Sox hitters off balance. Montero has struggled some behind the plate this season, in particular with throwing out runners, but was on top of his game today, and skillfully guided Anderson to a win in his first start.
The early dividends on both Marshall and Anderson hint at a larger payoff in the future. Both have shined in their first appearances. For the Diamondbacks to continue winning series, and continue climbing back to .500, they will need both of these guys to pitch well. Obviously, the expectation can’t be scoreless baseball every time they get the ball, but steadily consistent performances will be needed. This is a staff that has been regaining it’s footing over the course of the last three or four weeks, but still has a difficult climb back to respectability. But the recent signs are definitely encouraging. Maybe the D-backs have finally turned a corner, and Anderson and Marshall could be significant pieces going forward.