DENVER -- Rockies starter Tyler Anderson experienced a whole list of firsts in Saturdays 8-3 Rockies win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Not only did Anderson secure his first major league win (now 1-3), but he also managed to collect his first professional hit and first professional home run.
Anderson was the definite standout in a Rockies victory that saw contribution an unexpected group of heroes.
Anderson's home run came in the bottom of the fifth, with the Rockies down early to the Phillies 2-0. With Tony Wolters on first, Anderson belted a home run to right field against opposing starter Jerad Eickhoff with two outs.
"There’s probably a chance Walt could have pinch hit for me, but he trusted me enough to let me go out there and try to go back out for the sixth inning," Anderson said about the hit. "So I was just really pumped that he trusted me to do that."
While his bomb grabbed headlines, another solid start by Anderson was what really set the tone for the night. Although he didn't have his best stuff, Anderson grinded through six innings and finished the night allowing nine hits, but only two earned runs and no walks. He struck out six.
“Anderson’s been studying this team for about four days, and his plan was unbelievable. Sometimes you go on the mound and the timing and stuff isn’t there, but that’s how you know he’s a big league pitcher," catcher Tony Wolters said of Anderson. "He got through the game with zero of his pitches. No command whatsoever, but he got through, he grinded. I’m proud of him.”
Later, the Rockies would break it open with a six-run sixth inning highlighted by a bases-clearing triple by Wolters to further help out his pitcher. The inning put Anderson in line for his first-ever career win, which the Rockies later secured.
Jordan Lyles also played a crucial role in the victory, entering in the seventh and pitching three clean innings in long relief to earn his second ever career save, and first as a Rockie.
"He looks renewed to me in that role right now," Weiss said of Lyles. We wanted to stay off bullpen, especially the back end, and he went three innings and allowed us to do that.”
Since moving to the bullpen in his return from injury, Lyles has posted a 4.05 ERA, with a strikeout rate of 6.8. He is clearly becoming increasingly comfortable in his new role, and working through the adjustments which could position him as a valuable long relief arm for the Rockies.
With this start, Tyler Anderson further became a stalwart in the rotation. He has consistently taken pressure off of the bullpen, going at least 5 2/3 innings in each of his starts, and maintaining a strong 3.03 ERA. His strikeout rate sits at 7.09, while his walk rate has remained low at 1.8.
Saturday's victory was a gratifying first win for Anderson, where he made his mark on both sides of the ball. But most importantly, it came on a night where he was clearly struggling with his control. Even when working without his best stuff, Anderson has proved that he has the plan and fortitude to consistently provide effective starts. The big bat is just a plus.
The Rockies will wrap up their four-game set against the Phillies Sunday, where they have a chance to win the series. Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 3.08) will fce off against Phillies top prospect Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.30), making the sixth start of his big-league career.