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Six days after a nightmare of a return from almost five months on the shelf recovering from back surgery, southpaw Brett Anderson will take the hill on Saturday in hopes providing some much needed stabilization to the Dodgers‘ rotation, and help the club rebound from a disappointing loss in the series opener.
Last Sunday, Anderson struggled mightily against an all-right-handed Pirates lineup, allowing five runs to the Buccos on multi-run homers by Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez. Later in the inning, Anderson made a diving attempt at an Adam Frazier chopper, a play that apparently resulted in a wrist injury and his departure from the game. After the contest, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Anderson would require any additional time off to heal, but the 28-year-old lefty felt fine during the week, and hopes to eat a good amount of innings while minimizing the Reds’ offensive production.
Yesterday, righty Bud Norris had his own sour return to the rotation, as the Reds dominated the Dodgers 9-2 in the first game of the four-game set in Cincinnati. Norris was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game and his return to the mound was gloomy, as the first five Reds’ batters he faced reached base, punctuated by a three-run shot to dead-center field from first baseman Joey Votto.
Norris, now 3-3 with a 5.51 ERA since being acquired from the Braves in late June, was unable to get out of the fourth inning, surrendering six runs on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts in just 3-2/3 innings of work.
With Brandon McCarthy back on the disabled list and Rich Hill still a question mark as far as a long term rotation solution, the Dodgers are still in a position of uncertainty as far as their starting pitching depth. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters that lefty Hyun-jin Ryu has been shut down for the entire year, while staff ace Clayton Kershaw is believed to be targeting an unconfirmed return date of mid-to-late September.
Julio Urias will start Sunday’s contest to provide an extra day of rest to Kenta Maeda, who will throw in the wraparound game on Monday to conclude the series against Cincinnati.
As far as healthy rotation depth, Ross Stripling was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City yesterday when Norris was activated, so he’s ineligible to return before 10 days unless he’s recalled to replace an injured player of the same position. If needed, Brock Stewart should be available in the middle of the week after throwing a tidy five innings of one-hit ball on Friday night. Jose De Leon and Trevor Oaks, despite not yet being included on a very crowded 40-man roster, highlight several names of possibilities who may be included in the September roster expansion.
In terms of the batting order, it’s presumed that Roberts will throw a different look at Reds’ lefty Brandon Finnegan, most specifically giving struggling right fielder Josh Reddick some time on the pine to collect his thoughts, at least for the beginning of the game.
First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. Eastern time.