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By Jon Weisman
As he ventures into his first start of May, Brett Anderson will be looking to pump some life back into his strikeout and groundball rates, and in turn pitch deeper into games.
Anderson hasn’t gotten more than 15 outs in a start since the first week of the season. The 27-year-old lefty is typically as one of the Majors’ top pitchers at keeping the ball down, but according to Baseball-Reference.com, his ratio of groundouts to air outs through four starts in 2015 is 1.09, the lowest of his career and less than half the ratio between 2011-14 (2.33).
In addition, Anderson has struck out 12.8 percent of the batters he has faced (5.0 per nine innings), also the lowest of his career.
Two starts ago, on April 21 against the Giants, Anderson was snakebit in San Francisco. He allowed only six balls hit in the air, but San Francisco still cajoled nine hits off of him, striking out once.
In a rematch April 27 at Dodger Stadium, Anderson shut out the Giants over the first four innings despite being out of whack, inducing three groundouts in the process compared with five balls caught by outfielders (including Joc Pederson’s first-inning catch near the wall in center that started a double play). Anderson then got two groundouts to start the fifth inning, but a walk to No. 8 hitter Brandon Crawford preceded two groundball singles, then an RBI double to deep right.
It’s encouraging merely to see Anderson take his regular turn on the mound week after week — the next step is for him to deliver a dominating performance. We’ll see if that comes today.