MIAMI, Fla. — Brian Anderson was activated from the injured list Tuesday afternoon and returned to the starting lineup for the start of the Miami Marlins series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Anderson’s first plate appearance back after being sidelined with a strained left oblique ended with a bang. He took the first four pitches he saw from Diamondbacks’ pitcher Riley Smith, then pounced on a sinker which he drove 371 feet to rightfield. His second home run of the season put the Marlins on the board in the first inning.
WELCOME BACK, BRIAN ANDERSON. pic.twitter.com/sQ9RQWwaTb— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 4, 2021
Not only was it good to see Anderson get immediate gratification that signifies the status of his health (this always comes first, of course), but it also helps to press the reset button on his struggles at the plate this season. In addition to not hitting well, Anderson was also the victim of some bad luck.
When comparing his batting average and slugging percentage from April (.200 BA and .300 SLG) with Statcast’s expected versions for that stretch (.224 xBA and .435 xSLG), Anderson was expected to produce more than he actually did. Statcast’s expected statistics use the batter’s quality of contact as a measure of their performance, instead of whether or not the opposing defender scampered across the outfield and robbed the batter of a hit. The defense is out of the batter’s control, so what happens after he hits the ball doesn’t matter very much (to Statcast).
Anderson had three more plate appearances after the first inning home run. He struck out swinging in the fourth, grounded out in the sixth, and was intentionally walked in the eighth. The ground out in the sixth was a dribbler in front of home plate, but Anderson moved well running down the line.
In the field, Anderson was back at third base and helped start a double play to get out of the fourth inning. The following inning, Anderson was on the receiving end of an outfield assist from Lewis Brinson. Shading up the middle as part of a shift on the Diamondbacks’ third baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera, Anderson was able to tag Cabrera out as he tried to stretch a single into a double.
Lewis Brinson with the LASER for an outfield assist pic.twitter.com/z4VVuFaqM4— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) May 5, 2021
By the end of the evening, the Marlins finally overcame their offensive woes. The team brought 11 batters to the plate and scored six runs in the eighth inning. Along with his outfield assist, Brinson doubled in the second inning and hit a moonshot in the eighth for a 3-run home run.
Sandy Alcantara got the necessary run support he needed in his seventh start of the season, where his final line was 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.
The Marlins took the first game of the series 9-3, securing a big win to kick off the homestand.
"That was a team win."— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) May 5, 2021
Brian Anderson chats with @KellySaco to get his perspective on the win over the Diamondbacks tonight! #JuntosMiami pic.twitter.com/Y7eS3h7Tjh