Latest Struggles Could Cost Tanner Anderson His Spot in A's Rotation

Tanner Anderson's first two starts this season were surprisingly impressive. His last two outings have been a different story.

Anderson lasted just 2 2/3 innings Thursday night, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits, including two home runs, as the Angels hammered the A's, 8-3.

After surrendering just four runs in his first 11 innings, Anderson has given up 10 in his last 6 2/3, causing his ERA to balloon to 7.13 for the season.

"I didn't do a very good job of making the right adjustments," Anderson told reporters in Anaheim after Thursday's loss. "They (had) some comfortable swings. I needed to get them off balance a little more and I just didn't do that."

The biggest issue for the A's right-hander has been been getting left-handed hitters out. Kole Calhoun and Shohei Ohtani both took Anderson deep for two-run homers Thursday night and Luis Rengifo drove in a pair of runs with a two-out single.

For the season, lefties are now batting .378 (14-for-37) with four home runs and 11 RBI against Anderson. In comparison, righties are hitting just .184 (7-for-38) with no homers and two RBI.

"He got off to a decent start and then had a little trouble with their lefties," Melvin told reporters. "(He threw a) good sinker into the righties. He was getting some ground balls early. He was just having trouble either painting away or getting inside enough to the lefties and they put some good swings on him."

Anderson, 26, knows he needs to be better moving forward, but he wasn't too down on himself after the game, crediting the Angels with some quality at-bats.

"They're a good lineup," he said. "I didn't make amazing pitches, but early on, and even bleeding into that third inning, I made some good pitches and they just hit them. So I'm just kind of chalking that one up to one of those days where they just got me."

[RELATED: A's midseason report card]

The problem for Anderson is that he might not get another start after Thursday's pounding. Fellow right-hander Daniel Mengden pitched extremely well in St. Louis on Tuesday and figures to remain in the rotation for the time being. Oakland could also turn to Aaron Brooks or Paul Blackburn as a fifth starter.

Meanwhile, A's top prospect Jesús Luzardo pitched well in his second Triple-A rehab start Thursday night in Fresno. The 21-year-old left-hander allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, with four strikeouts and no walks. He will certainly be a strong candidate to join Oakland's rotation after the All-Star break.

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