Rain washed out Cristian Pache Day last Wednesday, but a day later, his time eventually came. And on Thursday, August 21st, the Braves’ top prospect — after starting the game 0 for 3 with two strikeouts — picked up his first hit in the majors when he went the other way and slapped a roller to right field. Even though he — as well as righty Touki Toussaint and catcher Alex Jackson — was sent back to the Braves’ alternate site today in Gwinnett… the Pache Era has begun.
Well, now it’s another highly regarded prospect’s turn. As our own Chase Irle reported earlier on Tuesday, right-hander Ian Anderson has been called up to the majors and will make the 7:10 p.m. (ET) start against the Yankees at Truist Park tonight. Another ultra-talented young player will begin what should be a long and prosperous big league career.
Although you have to sort of feel for Anderson, who hasn’t pitched in a real game since a September 6th playoff game last year against Triple-A Columbus. For his first assignment of his career, he’ll be going up against one of the league’s most prolific starters in 29-year-old Gerrit Cole — owner of a 4-0 record and 44 strikeouts in 36 innings so far this season.
Might as well go ahead and face the best right out of the gate, right?
Anderson may be in a rather precarious position, but facing a three-time All-Star tonight shouldn’t change what’s expected from him. When it comes down to it, his job will be the same as it’s always been: throw strikes and try to get batters out. It’s just this time that task will come against quite a loaded Yankees’ lineup (though one that has obviously never seen the 22-year-old before).
Behemoths like Aaron Judge (hitting .290 with 9 HR), Luke Voit (.311 AVG / 10 HR), and Gio Urshela (.256 AVG / 5 HR) have certainly been dangerous so far in this 2020 season. Still, tonight Anderson will have the upper hand in that essentially every pitch coming from him will be one those New York sluggers have never seen, at least during Anderson’s first run through the batting order. From then on, the real test will begin.
We’ll know rather quickly whether or not the Yankees see the ball well coming out of Anderson’s hand. Although I’m sure manager Brian Snitker is merely hoping for just a few solid innings from the young righty.
However, the Braves’ offense will also be receiving a shot in the arm as outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is in the lineup for the first time since August 10th (a span of 10 games). Acuna has been dealing with inflammation in his left wrist, an injury that can be a nuisance all year long if not properly taken care of.
Before his ailment, Acuna seemed to be heating back up. He was 5 for 10 with three home runs and five RBI through his final three games, and he’ll enter tonight’s matchup hitting .258 with four homers in 18 games this season. Acuna returning to the team just in time for Anderson’s MLB debut could be quite a blessing.
Hopefully, the Braves’ top pitching prospect has a handle on his nerves. The day Anderson has worked for all his life has finally come. The Braves could use a quality outing from a starting pitcher like the desert could use some rain, but I think I speak for most Braves’ fans when I say tonight’s goal is for Anderson to get his feet under him. Regardless, today is Ian Anderson Day, and hopefully the start of a very successful MLB career.