Column: Hail Dave Roberts for letting Tyler Anderson pursue no-hitter despite high pitch count

Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Anderson delivers against the Angels on Wednesday.
Dodgers starting pitcher Tyler Anderson delivers against the Angels on Wednesday. Dave Roberts made the right call by allowing Anderson a chance at history.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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As much as Dave Roberts insisted that he didn’t take any risks, he couldn’t be certain of that. Tyler Anderson’s attempt to complete a no-hitter could very well backfire on the Dodgers in the coming weeks and months.

With Walker Buehler’s arm in a sling, Clayton Kershaw just returned from a back injury and Julio Urias still working his way into form, Anderson is their No. 2 starter behind Tony Gonsolin.

They can’t afford to lose him.

Yet on Wednesday night, Roberts permitted this 32-year-old left-hander with a disconcerting medical history to throw a career-high 123 pitches in pursuit of personal glory.


How reckless.

How irresponsible.

How absolutely wonderful.

Regardless of why Anderson was allowed to venture into the unknown, regardless of whether the decision compromises the team’s World Series ambitions, good on Roberts.

Ultimately, the manager made the right call.

What happened in the 4-1 victory over the Angels was bigger than any team or season. This was an example of what distinguishes this sport from any other.

Only in baseball can fans show up to a ballpark for a random midweek game and possibly see the kind of magic they saw in the second game of the Freeway Series, in which a relatively unknown journeyman carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning and struck out Mike Trout looking for the first out, only to have Shohei Ohtani break it up with a triple.

Shohei Ohtani broke up Tyler Anderson’s no-hitter with one out in the ninth in the Dodgers’ 4-1 win over the Angels on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

June 16, 2022

By the time Anderson was removed, he had thrown 14 more pitches than he ever had in a major league game.

Anderson said he would have understood if Roberts had taken him out earlier, obviously aware of the Dodgers’ championship visions. A former first-round pick, Anderson was slow to develop in part because of his inability to remain healthy.

But what did it mean to him that Roberts kept him in?

“You can’t say enough about that,” Anderson said.

Anderson was granted permission to chase a dream, specifically a dream of the boy who resides inside of him.


This is a dream of millions of Little Leaguers, of whom only a handful will ever reach the major leagues. Of these major leaguers, only a select few will ever find themselves in a position to pitch a no-hitter.

“This is the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “It’s Dodger Stadium. It’s the Freeway Series. It’s Trout, Ohtani, and you’ve got Tyler Anderson here with an opportunity to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning with 50,000 people. You talk about the odds. That’s a special moment.”

Who was anyone to take that away from him?

“Well, I have taken it out of certain players’ hands,” Roberts said.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw understands why some fans might have been disappointed he didn’t get a chance to finish a perfect game.

April 14, 2022

Four times, Captain Hook has removed a pitcher throwing a no-hitter or perfect game. Roberts ended Ross Stripling’s major league debut after 7 1/3 no-hit innings in 2016. In September of that year, he removed blister-prone Rich Hill, who had a perfect game through seven innings. Two years later, Walker Buehler was pulled six innings into a no-hitter, which three relievers combined to finished. Earlier this year, Roberts yanked Clayton Kershaw even though he was perfect through seven innings with a pitch count of 80.

“I’ve shown I’m not afraid to pull the plug,” Roberts said.

In these instances, Roberts cited the possibility of injuries when defending his choices.

With Anderson, Roberts recalled how his previous start lasted only three innings. Roberts pointed to the team’s upcoming days off on Thursday and Monday, which meant Anderson could make his next start on six days’ rest.

“Everything sort of lined up to give that opportunity,” Roberts said.

Roberts sounded as if he were looking for excuses to keep him in.

“I know I’ve got this reputation as the Grim Reaper,” Roberts said, “but I’m a sports fan too.”

Otherwise, why gamble at all?

The safer option would have been to remove Anderson after, say, the seventh inning when his pitch count was at 99. This would be the thinking of many teams today, which in their quests for efficiency would have made the game less interesting.


The Angels struggled to get hits off Dodgers pitchers during the two-game Freeway Series while there wasn’t any clarity on Anthony Rendon’s wrist.

June 15, 2022

The romantic in Roberts allowed Anderson to dream. He was right to do so.

The World Series isn’t baseball’s only prize, and not everything should be sacrificed for a championship that can only be won by one team. Moments like this matter too. The 50,000-plus fans who serenaded Anderson with a standing ovation can vouch for that.