Braves hope Ian Anderson will have same late impact as last year

Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson in a game at Truist Park on May 21, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /



Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson in a game at Truist Park on May 21, 2021. (Hyosub Shin /

For the first time in 49 days, Ian Anderson will pitch for the Braves on Sunday afternoon, adding the latest reinforcement to the roster.

“I’m hoping that when we get him back this time, he does the same thing he did last year when we brought him up here,” manager Brian Snitker said Saturday.

After the Braves promoted Anderson to the major leagues for the first time in late August 2020, he proved instrumental in the team’s success the rest of the season, posting a 1.95 ERA across six regular-season starts and a 0.96 ERA across four postseason starts.

He began this season in the starting rotation and went 5-5 with a 3.56 ERA through 18 starts. But he has been on the injured list since the All-Star break.

He last pitched in a major-league game July 11, the day before the break, when he lasted only 2-1/3 innings, allowed four runs on six hits and five walks and afterward said his right shoulder “was getting a little tight.” An MRI exam revealed inflammation but no structural damage. Still, Anderson’s seven-week absence has been longer than the Braves initially forecast, at least publicly.

He has made four starts this month for the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers on a rehabilitation assignment. His first two rehab starts were shaky, but in his past two he has allowed one run and seven hits across 9-1/3 innings while striking out 15.

“He has had a couple of really good outings, so ... we’ve got to get him back in the mix,” Snitker said. “He feels good. He has been stretched out. We’ll be excited to get him back out there.”

In the rehab starts, Anderson’s pitch count has been gradually increased from 47 to 64 to 76 to 90. That buildup should allow him to go as deep into Sunday’s game against the Giants at Truist Park as the situation warrants, Snitker said.

“The intensity, the adrenaline, everything when you’re out here, is different than what it is in rehab starts,” Snitker said. “We’ll monitor that. It’s going to be hot, humid. We’ll see where he takes us.”

Anderson’s return means back-to-back games will be started by Braves pitchers who spent much of the summer on the injured list. Huascar Ynoa, sidelined for three months (from May 17 until Aug. 17) with a broken hand, pitched Saturday night, his third start since coming off the IL.

Rosario’s role?

The Braves have been getting such production from their outfielders of late that it’s unclear how Eddie Rosario, acquired at the July 30 trade deadline and activated from the injured list Friday, will find significant playing time, barring injury.

“I’m not worrying about (it). He’s on our bench right now,” Snitker said Saturday. “We’re focused right now on winning games and not any individual. He’ll work in wherever he works in. There’s not a plan just because he’s here. He’s on this club; he’ll come off the bench; he’ll be available. Last time I looked, those two corner outfielders we have (Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler) are doing pretty good.”

The Braves’ starting outfield Saturday night, same as the night before, had Duvall in left field, Joc Pederson in center and Soler in right. All three had big games in Friday’s stirring come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Giants, with Duvall and Soler hitting home runs and Pederson making a terrific game-ending catch.

TV ratings

The games Monday and Tuesday nights against the Yankees were the Braves’ most-watched of the season on Bally Sports.

Monday’s game drew a 4.48 rating in the Atlanta TV market, translating to an audience of about 102,000 homes. Tuesday’s game drew a 4.18 rating here, or about 95,000 homes.

Previously, the most-watched Braves telecast this season on Bally Sports South or Southeast was the April 10 game against the Phillies (4.06 rating).

Braves games this month have averaged a 3.18 rating in the Atlanta market (entering this weekend), 18% above the season average of 2.68.