Shaun Anderson's first-inning problems are a head-scratcher for Giants

Alex Pavlovic
NBC Sports BayArea

Shaun Anderson's first-inning problems are a head-scratcher for Giants originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

LOS ANGELES -- Giants rookie right-hander Shaun Anderson has a problem, but it isn't what you would expect. 

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Anderson is a young starter who was a closer in college, so it wouldn't be a surprise or at all concerning if he had issues getting deep into games. The head-scratcher thus far, though, has been that Anderson is struggling mightily with the first inning. After that, he tends to cruise. 

Joc Pederson hit a leadoff homer on Tuesday night and the Dodgers followed with two more hits and another run, kicking off what would become a 9-0 win behind Clayton Kershaw

The homer was the second leadoff blast Anderson has allowed in seven starts and the fourth he has allowed in the first inning. Opponents are hitting .438 off him in the first with four homers, four doubles and seven runs. In all of his other innings, Anderson has allowed just one homer and posted a 2.56 ERA. 

"I do need to bear down a little in those first innings," Anderson said. "This isn't the first time it has happened. I'll look into it."

Anderson said it was simply a lack of execution to start, and manager Bruce Bochy wasn't all that concerned. There's a trend, and he said the Giants will discuss potential changes to Anderson's pre-start routine, but they won't make too big a deal of it. 

"You know what, the kid is throwing well," Bochy said. "So it's not like we want to do a lot."

Anderson is not alone in this issue. The Giants as a team have had serious first-inning woes all season long, but Anderson has shown an ability to get past any early wobbles. He pitched into the sixth Tuesday, allowing just one more run. 

The problem was that the Giants had no margin for error. Kershaw did what he always does to them, and while Anderson kept it close for a while, this one turned into a blowout in the seventh. Enrique Hernandez's grand slam off Trevor Gott capped a six-run inning. 

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With the blowout, the Giants have now been outscored by 90 runs this season, the third-worst differential in the Majors and worst in the National League. Anderson might be having an issue with the first inning, but for the team, the problems go much deeper. 

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