After the rain canceled Ian Anderson’s MLB debut yesterday, he took the mound this afternoon in Game 1 of a seven-inning doubleheader against Gerritt Cole, leaving Braves country drooling on the edge of their seats for the next two hours.
The 2016 third overall pick took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against an ultra-talented lineup, even if the Yankees were missing Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. And while that sounds sensational in itself, it doesn’t even do Anderson’s performance justice.
The 22-year-old looked way ahead of his time, working the strike zone and mixing his pitches like a ten-year veteran. For the most part, the Yankees hitters had no chance once they stepped into the batter’s box, except for that one mistake he threw to Luke Voit in the sixth inning that broke up the no-hitter and the shutout. Still, Anderson was able to show poise and record the last two outs, completing a debut he will have fond memories of for the rest of his life.
Anderson’s final line: 6 innings, 1 earned run, 1 hit, two walks, and 6 Ks
After the game, it was all smiles from the rookie.
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) August 26, 2020
The Braves weren’t able to make much contact against Gerrit Cole, who struck out nine over five innings, but it usually went a long way when they did. Atlanta tallied three home runs against the Yankees ace, starting from the opening bell when Ronald Acuña hit the longest homer of his career in his first at-bat back from the IL.
🚨 LEADOFF RONALD IS BACK 🚨 pic.twitter.com/yvQIg7Q4HD
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) August 26, 2020
Dansby Swanson added to the lead with a two-run opposite-field shot in the third, and Marcell Ozuna hit his team-leading eighth home run in the same inning — a solo homer that landed 469 feet away from the plate.
The Braves would tack on another run off Cole in the sixth, but they didn’t need it. Shane Greene relieved Anderson for the seventh, allowing just one hit before retiring the final out (remember doubleheaders this season are only seven innings long).
It was a marvelous day all around for Atlanta, but the storyline is all about what this means for the Braves rotation.
Obviously, Anderson will receive multiple starts going forward, and with the way the roster is currently constructed, he’s the Braves #2 starter. However, there’s no reason to get ahead of ourselves. That will all sort itself out over the next month. Still, this is easily the best any of the Braves pitching prospects have looked in their debut since Mike Soroka in 2018. It’s OK to be excited, just temper your expectations a bit. Anderson isn’t going to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning every time out.
It might be unfair to expect Anderson to be in the postseason rotation, but he can certainly help the Braves right the ship until they figure things out. Right now, let’s just enjoy the fact that one of Atlanta’s highly-touted pitching prospects finally delivered on the big stage.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire