Focused Anderson keeps rotation line moving

Deflecting talk of poor run support, rookie extends stretch of Rockies quality starts

Focused Anderson keeps rotation line moving

NEW YORK -- Rockies rookie left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson's first nine starts have taught him to care only about what's important -- upholding his part of what's become a solid starting pitching staff.

He doesn't care that he didn't receive the win in the Rockies' stirring 2-1 victory over the Mets on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. But Anderson does show up in an important stat.

Anderson struck out five and overcame seven hits in six innings to hold the Mets to one run, giving the Rockies their 17th "quality start" (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) this month. The club record for quality starts in a month is 19 in June 2009. The Rox had 18 in July 2009 and August 2010.

Starts like Anderson's on Thursday, when the rookie faced runners in scoring position the final three innings and escaped unscathed, are a reason the Rockies appear on the road to putting a checkered pitching history behind them.

The Rockies (50-52), who have won 10 of 14 since the All-Star break, are 3-1 on their current road trip, and all of the starts -- by Jorge De La Rosa, Chad Bettis, Jon Gray and Anderson -- have been quality. And Friday night, in the second of four with the Mets, the Rockies will start Tyler Chatwood, who is 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA in eight road starts.

Because the Rockies couldn't solve Mets starter Jacob deGrom, Anderson's good work led to a no-decision. In fact, he has a 3.03 ERA in his three road starts, but the team has scored all of one run with him in the game. But Anderson, 26, gets by because his mind wasn't on what the offense was doing or what deGrom was doing to the Rockies' bats.

"There's always somebody good on the other side of the mound who's good," Anderson said. "Our focus as a pitching staff is always on the hitters. The most attention we pay to deGrom is when he's coming up to bat -- and he's a good hitter, too.

"When it comes to pitching, you don't think about that, or try not to. Your goal is to put up zeros every inning. If we're going to score 10, you want to put up a zero, and if we're going to score one you want to put up a zero."

The one off Anderson on Thursday came on Rene Rivera's two-out double in the second. Otherwise, Anderson made Mets chances disappear. He ended two-on threats in the fourth and sixth by forcing James Loney into popups each time. In the fifth, he froze Juan Lagares on a backdoor cutter with a runner at second.

The Rockies drafted Anderson 20th overall in 2011 out of the University of Oregon. Even though he suffered a stress fracture in his left elbow just before the end of the 2014 season -- he was 7-4 with a 1.78 ERA at Double-A Tulsa -- and did not pitch in the Minors last season, the Rockies believed he would be ready quickly.

Because Anderson suffered a right oblique injury during Spring Training, they had to wait until June 12 to call him up. He has rewarded the patience.

"He's done a nice job every time out," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Ever since we got him, he's been real good for us -- very reliable, very competitive. That's the way he's been throwing every time he's taken the ball."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.