After a problematic 2022 that saw him get sent down to the minors, this afternoon’s drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Twins was probably not the outing Ian Anderson wanted to have. Let’s get the ugly out of the way first: whether Anderson was trying to get outs, or just working on stuff, or even messing around, things went south on the scoreboard. Maybe Anderson and the Braves don’t care. Or maybe they do, because they might actually use Spring Training results as a decision about the pecking order for the back end of the rotation. Whichever way it breaks, it was an awful outing.
In the bottom of the first, Edouard Julien hit a leadoff homer off Anderson. After two outs, Anderson issued back-to-back walks, and then a three-run homer to Willi Castro. That, and a single that followed, actually led to a temporary removal from the game, as Allan Winans came on and got the final out of the first to let Anderson reset a bit. Anderson ended up facing three more batters, collecting a strikeout of Julien and then issuing a walk, before he was removed for good.
The Braves ended up using nine pitchers total in the game, and in addition to Anderson, Michael “Gulf of” Tonkin and Kyle Wilcox proceeded to give up some more runs later, with the big blow coming on another Julien homer, this time worth three runs, in the fourth. Jared Shuster threw two scoreless innings, but didn’t strike out or walk anyone. Victor Vodnik struck out two but gave up a hit in his inning of work.
This game ended as a 10-7 contest, and that’s because, despite the shelling of Anderson and Julien’s two homers, the Braves got some licks in too. The big standout performance here was Vaughn Grissom going 3-for-3 out of the two-hole. Grissom’s first two PAs resulted in liners to center — first for a single, and then for a bases-clearing double. He later rolled a grounder up the middle for his third hit. Kevin Pillar hit the Braves’ only homer, a two-run shot in the fourth. Eli White continued a good run early in the spring with a double and a walk, and Justin Dean went 2-for-2 as his replacement.
Other offensive developments were Marcell Ozuna going 1-for-3 with two strikeouts and Sam Hilliard going 1-for-4 with an RBI double. The entire Braves team somehow got 13 hits but just a single walk; the Twins managed nine hits and received seven walks. Ian Anderson will try for something better next time out, I guess.
The Braves host the Rays in North Port tomorrow afternoon, with Jesse Chavez listed as the first pitcher on the bump.