CUMBERLAND, G.A. — The Atlanta Braves gave Ian Anderson the ball in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series Thursday afternoon. It was Shenendehowa product’s first MLB postseason start, and he met the challenge with flair, throwing six shutout innings en route to a 5-0 series-clinching win over the Cincinnati Reds.
“It kind of felt like my debut in a way,” Anderson said after the game. “I had some adrenaline going in that first inning for sure, and then as the game went on… just realizing it’s the same game.”
After an efficient nine-pitch first inning, Anderson ran into trouble in the second inning. He gave up a hit and a pair of walks to load the bases, but induced a Tucker Barnhart inning-ending groundout to get out of the jam. From there, he cruised, racking up nine strikeouts in the outing, while giving up just two hits.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said he’s almost starting to expect the rookie to pitch like a seasoned vet.
“It’s something else how he handles the whole thing,” Snitker said. “I look always to between innings and I look at him sitting there, and see some reactions sometimes, and he doesn’t look his age, I’m telling ya. It’s like he’s out there on the sandlot playing ball.”
The 22-year-old Clifton Park native is part of a staff that put on a pitching clinic the past two days, holding the Reds scoreless through 22 innings.
“It was special to be part of,” Anderson said. “All the credit to Max [Fried] going out there yesterday, and pitch for pitch with [Trevor] Bauer, and setting the tone for us. And it was more of just a mindset of trying to keep that going today. That was kind of how I went into it, trying to build off what those guys do and know that if I can get five, six, seven, we’ve got guys at the end that can shut it down.”
The Braves won their first postseason series since 2001. Anderson and company are now off to the NLDS in Houston, T.X. where they’ll take on the winner of the Marlins vs. Cubs series. Miami holds a 1-0 series lead.