Phillies No. 5 starter Chase Anderson deserves more credit

Chase Anderson #57 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Chase Anderson #57 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Phillies needed two back-end starting pitchers entering 2021. Despite the in-house options — such as Vince Velasquez and Spencer HowardDave Dombrowski and company went outside the clubhouse by signing Matt Moore and Chase Anderson.

After a rough 2020 season — where Anderson posted career-worst numbers in ERA, WHIP, and HR/9 — he had a strong spring training. Along with Moore, the veterans secured the Nos. 4 and 5 spots in the Phillies rotation.

Following the trio of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin, much uncertainty followed in terms of the starting staff. Now, through 18 games, things have become a little clearer. While Moore has been disappointing, Anderson has been effective. He is slated to start again in Sunday’s road series finale against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

Phillies No. 5 starter Chase Anderson has proven to be effective so far.

Just because the Phillies have gone 4-8 in their last 12 — and Moore and the center fielders have struggled — does not mean fans should be asking for two brand new Nos. 4 and 5 starters. Although a replacement for Moore is plausible, Anderson has done exactly, if not more, than what he is supposed to — give the Phillies a chance to win every fifth day.

Through three starts, Anderson is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA. However, those numbers do not tell the whole story.

Anderson logged five innings and allowed only two runs against the New York Mets in his Phillies debut, but was handed a loss. A pitcher who allows only two runs over five frames should not take a loss — but the Phillies bats were stifled by Marcus Stroman, and a seventh-inning implosion by Vince Velasquez put the game out of reach.

In Anderson’s second start — game one of a 7-inning doubleheader — he tossed four innings and only allowed two runs, along with just three hits. Given the shortened game and a need for offense, Joe Girardi took out Anderson relatively early. The Phillies lost this one, 4-3.

In his third start, Anderson surrendered a pair of runs again across four innings, all the while tallying five strikeouts. Desperate for offense, the Phillies pinch hit for Anderson early in the game. They also lost this start by a score of 2-0 — another unacceptable loss that unfairly falls on his hands. This offense should especially be able to muster up three runs in a game like that.

Chase Anderson is throwing the ball well under Phillies coach Caleb Cotham.

Simply put, both of Anderson’s two losing decisions are incredibly undeserving. Under pitching coach Caleb Cotham, he is throwing his changeup and cutter more than ever — and it is paying off. On 0-2 counts, Anderson throws his changeup nearly 40 percent of the time, in which opponents are only batting .111 off that pitch. Batters are just 3-27 off of his changeup and cutter combined.

If Anderson can get a little more from his fastball, and keep hitters off-balance with those secondary pitches, he can prove to be reliable down the stretch of the season. Keep in mind, Anderson has been a part of postseason teams in each of the last three seasons and knows what it takes to reach Red October.

Overall, Anderson has pitched pretty well in his first three starts of the year. Despite getting stung by the long ball, he is certainly doing his job and keeping the Phillies in every game he has pitched so far.

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