Rested Ian Anderson returns to lead Braves vs. Giants

National Sports

Two pitchers returning from the injured list will square off on Sunday when the Atlanta Braves host the San Francisco Giants in the rubber game of a three-game series between National League division leaders.

The Braves will start right-hander Ian Anderson (5-5, 3.56 ERA), who has been sidelined since the All-Star Game with shoulder discomfort. The Giants will go with veteran right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (11-5, 3.26), who has been out since Aug. 19 with inflammation to his right ankle.

The NL East-leading Braves won the first game of the series 6-5 on Friday, and the NL West-leading Giants won 5-0 on Saturday. The Giants will be seeking their 10th straight series win.

The clubs play again in San Francisco on Sept. 17-19.

Anderson’s return means the Braves likely will use a six-man rotation for at least the next week. The move would give veterans Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly additional rest and lessen the strain on Max Fried, Huascar Ynoa, Touki Toussaint and Anderson.

Anderson returns a few days after the one-year anniversary of his major league debut on Aug. 26, 2020. He made six starts in 2020 and went 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA to help the Braves win the NL East. In four playoff starts, he was 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

“If I can replicate that, that would be great,” Anderson said.

Prior to missing seven weeks, Anderson had made 18 starts. After he was set down, the team saw no structural problems and deduced the 23-year-old first-round draft pick just needed some rest.

Anderson’s last appearance was July 11 at Miami, when he lasted only 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits, five walks and four strikeouts. He has never faced San Francisco.

“I’m hoping when we get him back, he does the same thing he did for us last year,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s had a couple good (rehab) outings. So at some time we’ve got to get him back in the mix. He feels good. … We’ll be excited to get him back out there.”

DeSclafani last pitched Aug. 18 when he left his start against the New York Mets after only 1 1 /3 innings because of irritation on the outside of his right ankle. He missed two starts and had a couple of successful side sessions that signaled he was good enough to return.

In five career starts against Atlanta, DeSclafani is 1-2 with a 4.39 ERA. He last faced the Braves in 2019 when he was a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

The Giants also expect to have Kris Bryant back in the lineup. He left Friday’s game after one at-bat when he experienced a twinge in his right side after a checked swing. An MRI was negative, but Bryant was held out of the lineup on Saturday as a precautionary measure.

“Anytime you get the results of an MRI, an X-ray, feedback from a player that says, ‘Hey, I’m doing better’ — and we may have avoided, in Kris’ case, anything major — I would always say that would be good news and an opportunity to feel better about the situation,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

–Field Level Media

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