On Aug. 7, the Braves demoted Anderson to Triple-A Gwinnett. His ERA was 5.00. Over the postseasons of 2020 and 2021, Anderson made eight starts. The Braves won seven, the exception being Game 7 against the Dodgers in the 2020 NLCS. He was 4-0 in playoff decisions; his ERA over those eight games was 1.26.
Anderson’s ERA in three Gwinnett starts was 5.80. The Braves placed him on the injured list with an oblique strain. Over the past two Octobers, he started either Game 2 or 3 in six different series. He was a key figure in the Braves’ playoff breakthroughs of 2020 and 2021. Now he’s an afterthought. (Like Mike Soroka, whose Game 3 start against Adam Wainwright in October 2019 remains his only postseason turn.)
Anderson was a major part of the Braves’ plans, and he might still be. But Kyle Wright, who’s 27 and was drafted No. 5 overall in 2017, won 21 games this season and bettered Zack Wheeler in a tremendous Game 2. Wright’s rise dovetailed with Anderson’s fall. So did the upward path of Spencer Strider, who’s a year younger than Anderson.
Label this entry, “Why Pitching is Weird, Parts 3,165 and 3,166.” Syndergaard was once considered a hotter commodity than Jacob deGrom. Thor and catcher Travis d’Arnaud, of whom you’ve heard, were acquired from Toronto in November 2012 for R.A. Dickey, coming off a Cy Young year. The Toronto general manager was Alex Anthopoulos.
Syndergaard and d’Arnaud comprised a stellar young battery when the Mets made the 2015 World Series. Now d’Arnaud is the bigger name – an All-Star catcher on the reigning World Series champs. And the hardest thrower among pitchers apt to start this weekend won’t be Syndergaard. It’ll be Strider.
To rewrite a famous Rod Stewart line: “Every pitcher tells a story, don’t it?”
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