Tyler Anderson’s Strange Substitution Pays Off Big for Rockies
By Kevin Henry
Lost in much of the hoopla surrounding the Colorado Rockies downing the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 on Monday night at Coors Field was the integral role that what seemed to be a strange substitution of Tyler Anderson played in a big Rockies inning.
Down 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Brandon Barnes led off the inning with a single to put the tying run on base. With the pitcher’s spot coming up and Jon Gray already having thrown 101 pitches, a pinch hitter was expected. What was not expected, however, was that that pinch hitter would be fellow pitcher Tyler Anderson.
Yes, the rookie was being asked to move the runner over in a critical situation. It’s not often you see a pitcher pinch hitting for a pitcher, but the move was necessary for the Rockies because of a short bench caused by injuries to Trevor Story and DJ LeMahieu.
“We were real short-handed tonight,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “We didn’t want to fire a bullet right there. (Ryan) Raburn was our one shot and we can’t fire him right there. You could fire Tony (Wolters) right there but then you have to put him into the game in the infield.”
Facing Toronto reliever Drew Storen, Anderson got two strikes on him before putting down a perfectly executed bunt that moved Barnes to second. From there, the Rockies offense ignited with six consecutive batters reaching base as a 4-3 deficit turned quickly into an 8-3 advantage.
More from Rox Pile
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: What if Todd Helton had played football instead?
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: Has Sean Bouchard earned a second look in 2023?
“Anderson handles the bat real well. He got to two strikes and still got the two-strike bunt down. It was big,” Weiss said.
After the game, Anderson said getting to two strikes and still being able to execute the sacrifice wasn’t a big deal in his mind.
“If anything, that’s when you really have to get the job done,” Anderson smiled. “You gotta walk in there. It’d be selfish of me to be scared in that situation. For us, we gotta get somebody over, especially in a game like that when it’s so close.”
Was he surprised to hear his name called in that situation?
Next: Anderson Talks About Kicking the Injury Bug
“It helped out. I was glad I was able to help,” Anderson said. “They had mentioned that we had a short bench with some stuff going on over the last couple of days so to be ready any time. I wasn’t too surprised by it.”