When Shenendehowa graduate Ian Anderson takes the mound Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series in Arlington, Texas, he’ll have fans cheering for him throughout the Capital Region on TV, plus fans rooting for him in the stands.
“My family is going to be able to be in attendance this round, so I’m definitely excited to get back out there,” Anderson said during Monday’s Zoom press conference.
It will be the first time his parents Bob and Karen see him pitch in person since last year’s MLB All-Stars Futures game in Cleveland. Besides his parents, Anderson’s brother Ben — another former Shenendehowa standout who is now a member of the Texas Rangers organization — will also be in attendance at Tuesday’s game.
It will also be the first time Anderson has pitched in front of fans as an MLB starter this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions at ballparks. Besides support from his mom, dad and twin brother, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft has solid support from his manager heading into Game 2.
“It’s unusual that we’re in the industry where we’re rushing guys up here before I think they’re ready and Ian was ready,” Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He had been at all the stops; I think upwards of 370-some innings in the minor leagues, and I think he was ready for this.”
Anderson earned three wins in six starts during the regular season, and has earned wins in both of his postseason starts. Anderson hasn’t allowed a run in 11 2-3 innings, and has struck out 17 batters.
Anderson made his MLB debut against New York Yankees star pitcher Gerrit Cole on Aug. 26. On Tuesday, Anderson will face a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner in lefty Clayton Kershaw, a matchup Anderson said is “going to be special” one for the former Section II standout.
“That was always a guy you kind of strived to be,” Anderson said. “Me, being right-handed, I knew I would never get there, but he’s impressive and I’m looking forward to kind of going toe-to-toe with him.”
Growing up, Anderson admired a former Red Sox — and Dodger — in Josh Beckett.
“He was kind of the guy. Just [a] bulldog mentality out there. Would go right at guys and that’s something that I’ve kind of tried to put into my game,” Anderson said.
Anderson will face the defending National League pennant winners on Tuesday, one day after watching Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried get the start in Game 1.
“They’re well-balanced one through nine, and have a lot of power,” Anderson said. “I’m going to have to make my pitches and mix up the pitches, try to get ahead and go from there.”
Game 2 of the NLCS will be broadcast on FS1 at 6 p.m.