Brett Anderson pitched well Friday night and had little to show for it, but then he’s pitched pretty well all season with little to show for it.
Anderson threw probably his finest game as a Dodger on Friday night, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in four years and holding the Cardinals to four hits, two of the infield variety.
And was still left with the loss.
“Really, really efficient,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “He just cruised through, not a lot of trouble.
“It’s really unfortunate he has to end up with the `L’ in a game like that. That’s what happens when the other guy pitches really good too. You can’t make any mistakes. [But] he pitched really well.”
Anderson ended up with the loss to fall to 2-4 on the season, that despite a solid 3.29 ERA. After having been injured so much the last four years – he hasn’t pitched as many as 85 innings in any of them – there’s an element of holding your breath every time he starts.
This is something of uncharted territory for the left-hander, though he seems to be growing stronger almost by the start. He has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his 11 starts and posted a 2.30 ERA in his last seven.
He was leading 1-0 going into the eighth Friday when he was undone by a walk and a couple of odd infield plays. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins made a nice effort to snag Jason Hayward’s bouncer up the middle, but his backhanded flip to Enrique Hernandez covering second was off the mark.
Later Kolten Wong hit a tapper to a charging Adrian Gonzalez at first. Anderson slipped off the mound trying to cover first and could not get to the bag, and Hernandez also was late. Gonzalez had to eat the ball as the tying run scored. A sacrifice fly to right and the Cardinals had pulled out a 2-1 victory.
“You never want to give up runs,” Anderson said. “I did a good job until the eighth. There were some kind of fluky plays there. It happens. But if I continue to go out there every five days and give them quality starts and a chance, I can live with that.”
Anderson had made all 11 of his scheduled starts, the most he’s made since he started 13 times in 2011. The only time he’s started as many as 30 games was in his rookie season in 2009.
With starters Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu lost for the season to surgery, the Dodgers very much need Anderson to remain healthy. A won-loss record is hardly paramount. More outings like Friday’s are.