Tanner Anderson spent most of his childhood attending Rays games at Tropicana Field. On Monday night, he got to pitch there for the first time as a major leaguer.
"My first dream was to play at this level and it was awesome when that happened last year (with the Pittsburgh Pirates)," Anderson told reporters. "But my second dream was to pitch in Tropicana. It was awesome. It was a dream come true."
The Tampa native made his first career start and pitched well, allowing just two runs on three hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, he took the loss, as the Rays beat the A's, 6-2.
"I have a lot of support here," Anderson said. "I told my mom to invite whoever she wanted but not to tell me so that I wouldn't get all nervous. But afterwards I went out there and there were like 15 or 20 people. It was really cool."
The A's acquired Anderson from the Pirates last November and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas to start the season. Oakland called up the 26-year-old earlier Monday just to make a spot start. But based on his strong performance, Anderson may earn another start.
"We'll discuss (it)," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters. "The front office has some say in this. He pitched well enough to get another look. ... I thought he did great. Obviously, some pressure being here at home. I'm sure he's got a lot of people here and he performed past our expectations."
Anderson's stellar outing came as a bit of a surprise, at least considering his numbers at Triple-A this year. In 11 outings, he went 4-4 with a 6.26 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. But Anderson rose to the occasion on Monday.
"I think I threw the ball well," he said. "I definitely made some mistakes. I got away with some. My infield did a tremendous job. I kind of threw to the type of pitcher I am -- try to get contact, try to get the defense working and they did a good job."
Melvin came away impressed by both Anderson's stuff and his poise.
"Really good sink," he said. "That's his deal is being able to sink the baseball. But he had a good breaking ball backdoor at times, he threw a few changeups, just enough to keep them off balance. He pitched really well. Composure-wise, it looked like he'd been pitching and starting all year for us."
Anderson admits dealing with nerves before the game, but not quite as many as last season when he made his major league debut.
"I had them maybe an hour up to (the game) and then they kind of disappeared," he said. "Last year, I felt like I was going to throw up for like three days, the nerves were so bad. This year, it felt a little more familiar. It wasn't close to as bad."
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It would certainly make sense to give Anderson another start, especially considering the A's lack of a number five starter. Aaron Brooks began the season with the job, before giving way to Daniel Mengden. They both struggled, as did Paul Blackburn in his start last week.
Anderson gave the A's everything they could have asked for, and then some. He deserves at least one more start.