Cody Anderson made his MLB debut for the Indians Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field. The Indians had lost two games in a row as they continue to muddle through a middling season. The offense, which had been so good in May, has been terrible in June, and did nothing to help Anderson pick up a win in his first game. Anderson made sure he wouldn't pick up a loss though, and did so the only way a pitcher can, by not allowing any runs to score.
Anderson pitched 7.2 innings (which is more than he'd pitched in any of his 91 minor league games since being drafted by the Indians in 2011), allowing 0 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk, with 4 strikeouts. Anderson's game score for the day was 70, which is very good.
Top game scores by Indians pitchers in their MLB debuts (since 1914):
Luis Tiant (July 19, 1964): 86
Ray Benge (September 26, 1925): 79
Scott Lewis (September 10, 2008): 79
Jim Kern (September 6, 1974): 72
Paul Rigdon (May 21, 2000): 71
Danny Salazar (July 11, 2013): 70
Cody Anderson (June 21, 2015): 70
Bryan Stephens (May 15, 1947): 69
Al Aber (September 15, 1950): 69
Josh Tomlin (July 27, 2010): 69
Something of a random collection of pitchers. In part this speaks to the random nature of single-game baseball. One might also note that many pitchers debut out of the bullpen. Bob Feller, for example, had a game score of 82 for his first MLB start, in which he struck out 15 while pitching a complete game, but he'd appeared as a reliever in six game prior to that, and his debut was just one scoreless inning.
Among the other notable Tribe pitchers from recent decades in their MLB debut: Cliff Lee (60), CC Sabathia (52), Bartolo Colon (40), Charles Nagy (30), Greg Swindell (26)
The list above serves as a reminder that a great first game doesn't mean much of anything beyond that day. Tiant, who was excellent, is the only pitcher on that list who compiled even 7 WAR for the Indians. (Obviously we hope Anderson and Salazar both get there eventually, and I suppose the book on Tomlin isn't officially finished) Still, while a great debut isn't a predictor of a great career, I'd still much rather see 7.2 shutout innings than a shelling or an average performance.
May there be many more strong performances in Anderson's future with the Indians.