Crew hopes Anderson pitches out of slump

Right-hander suffers fourth consecutive defeat Thursday vs. the Reds

Crew hopes Anderson pitches out of slump

CINCINNATI -- The Brewers' plan to reverse Chase Anderson's recent fortunes is simple:

Keep pitching him.

Anderson will remain on schedule in the starting rotation, manager Craig Counsell said Thursday, after Anderson surrendered two more home runs and found himself in a seven-run deficit after two innings of a 9-5 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. It was Anderson's fourth straight defeat.

His numbers in those games stand out. In his last 18 1/3 innings, Anderson has allowed 34 hits including eight home runs, and walked 10 batters. Those baserunners have added up to 24 runs (21 earned) against Anderson, who didn't allow any earned runs in his first two Brewers starts.

"We need Chase," Counsell said. "It's important that we get him going. We need him to pitch well."

And that means continuing to use him as a starter?

"Yeah," Counsell said.

Counsell has cited Anderson's track record in Arizona as the foundation of his faith the 28-year-old will turn things around. But the Brewers also have scant alternatives at the moment. Zach Davies and Junior Guerra are already up from Triple-A Colorado Springs and in the rotation. Matt Garza is not eligible to return from a shoulder injury until early June. Top prospect Jorge Lopez has an 8.84 ERA after five Triple-A starts.

For Anderson, the early innings have provided a particular challenge. He has surrendered five home runs and 13 earned runs in the first two innings of his last four starts.

"I've tried some things in the bullpen," Anderson said. "I feel like my routine is good. I've worked a lot on that. I've worked really hard in the last couple of years to find something that fits and works. I feel good going into the game. My body feels great right now. It comes down to executing."

Anderson admitted executing is something he hasn't been doing lately.

On Thursday, his outing began with bad luck, when Reds leadoff man Zack Cozart beat the Brewers' infield shift with a single through the open right side.

"I felt I let that get to me a little too much," Anderson said.

Billy Hamilton followed with a deep drive over center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis' head that ticked off Nieuwenhuis' glove for a double. Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips hit a sacrifice fly, before Jay Bruce hammered a first-pitch curveball for a three-run home run, giving the Reds a 4-0 lead. Cincinnati tacked on one more run before Anderson was able to escape the first inning.

"I have to give the offense a chance, because I know these guys can score runs," Anderson said. "But when you put them behind the eight-ball, like the last couple of times I've been out there, it's hard to score runs. The starting pitcher sets the tone. I have to do a better job of that, for sure."

He added, "I try not to look back in the past. The future is where it's at. I know I can pitch in this game."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.