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World Series 2001
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10/31/2001 03:49 AM ET
Mayo: Anderson the right choice
Anderson can't be blamed for the Diamondbacks' Game 3 loss.
NEW YORK -- A funny thing happened on the way to Bob Brenly's decision to start Brian Anderson blowing up in Arizona's face.

The flaky lefty from Wisconsin pitched well.

Very well, in fact. Well enough to win if Roger Clemens hadn't been Roger Clemens and the Diamondbacks' defense had been a little sharper.

So if you're looking for someone to blame for this loss, look elsewhere. Anderson might have an 'L' next to his name in the boxscore, but neither he nor Brenly should be vilified for it.

"He went out and pitched a tremendous ballgame and gave us a couple more innings than we thought we were going to get out of him," Brenly said. "The cool temperature allowed him to pitch deeper in the ballgame than we anticipated, but you have to put runs on the board to win the game and we weren't able to support our pitching tonight."

Anderson hadn't started a game since Sept. 8. He hadn't pitched more than four innings since August. He battled injuries and inconsistency all season long. The Yankees knew this and employed their patented patience to make him pile up pitches.

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"I can be tired next week," Anderson said. "I knew going in they knew I hadn't thrown more than 3 1/3 innings in two months. I knew their gameplan was to make him work, get him deep into counts early in the game. I came in prepared for it.

"It's very rare I get taken out in the sixth inning having thrown 110 pitches and not given up 10 runs."

That's exactly why Anderson was the perfect choice to start this game. He's just goofy enough to not be bothered by the hoopla, by expectations or by criticism. This is a guy who did the equivalent of a Little Leaguer sleeping in his uniform: He showed up at the Stadium seven hours before game time and was ready to go.

"It was probably a mistake; I got here at 1 p.m.," Anderson said. "I wasn't doing anybody any good sitting at home. So I came here, drank too much coffee and watched a couple of movies."

The movies? "Hoosiers" and "Rudy," of course. Anderson wanted to go with inspirational sports movies.

Not that he needed much pumping up. He had his uniform on before most of his teammates got to the park.

"The last hour and a half until the first pitch was dragging," Anderson said. "I thought that it would never get here."

After the lineups were announced, the anthem was sung, Challenger made his flight and the President threw out the first pitch, it was finally time for the wacky lefty who almost no one outside of the D-Backs clubhouse thought should get the ball to show what he was made of.

And he showed plenty. Pitching here, the supposed lion's den, certainly didn't faze him.