Tag: Anibal Sanchez

Anibal Sanchez Injury: Updates on Tigers Pitcher’s Triceps and Return

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez has inflammation in his triceps that will keep him sidelined through the weekend, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

Continue for updates.

Tigers to Hold Sanchez Out Until at Least Monday

Thursday, Feb. 25

Sanchez believes the swelling isn’t serious and should heal with time, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press:

I’m fine, I’m good. I think it’s early. We don’t have to rush anything, especially if I have the soreness. But in order for me to throw, I don’t have to take the risk of it getting worse if I want it to be ready in time.

There’s no rush right now. We have enough time to get ready for the season. We have a month and a half.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Sanchez initially experienced soreness in his throwing arm Monday, per Fenech, which prompted the team to conduct an MRI. Sanchez felt his triceps flare up while throwing a fastball during a bullpen session, per Jason Beck of MLB.com.

Ausmus noted he isn’t overly worried, per Fenech.

“It doesn’t seem to be anything concerning, but I guess you’re always cringing when it involved one of your starting pitchers,” the third-year manager said. “It’s not really in an area where we see a ton of problems with. The MRI looked good; it just showed a little inflammation there.”

Sanchez, 31, has missed time in each of the last three seasons with arm injuries and has never reached the 200-inning plateau. In 2015, Sanchez went 10-10 with a 1.28 WHIP and career-worst 4.99 ERA. The team shut him down in August after he suffered a strained rotator cuff, yet he still allowed an American League-worst 29 home runs.

The Tigers are hoping the 10-year veteran will round out the top three of a rotation anchored by Justin Verlander and offseason signee Jordan Zimmermann.

Sanchez’s injury seems like only a minor byproduct of a throwing arm returning to baseball activities after a lengthy hiatus over the winter. By returning Monday, he can squander most speculation about his health as Detroit continues camp and hopes to catapult from its last-place finish in 2015.

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MLB’s Early Struggling Stars Poised for Loud Turnarounds

From Davis Ortiz to Robinson Cano, a constellation of MLB‘s brightest stars have been among the game’s biggest duds in 2015.

While the five underachievers who crack this unfortunate list have all been major disappointments so far, it’s not time to write them off just yet. The most compelling reason for why they’re all poised for loud turnarounds is that they all boast impressive big league resumes.

Plus, after digging through the numbers, there’s no way to avoid the reality that a few of these stars have been downright unlucky in the opening months of 2015.

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Anibal Sanchez Injury: Updates on Tigers Pitcher’s Pectoral and Return

The Detroit Tigers were only 2.5 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central heading into play Friday, but their division title chances may have taken a hit. Jason Beck of MLB.com filled fans in on the latest regarding pitcher Anibal Sanchez:

Sanchez was hit hard before exiting his start against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing 10 hits and three earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched.

The Tigers pitching staff may be anchored by Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and newly acquired David Price, but Sanchez has turned in an impressive 2014 campaign. He sports an 8-5 record with 3.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and .229 batting average against.

If Sanchez misses considerable time going forward, the Tigers will be even more reliant on their trio of former Cy Young Award winners. Of course, that’s not a bad problem to have at all, but Sanchez provides solid depth.

Check back for updates as they develop.

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Detroit Tigers: Why Justin Verlander Is the Key to a Deep Playoff Run

Poised to win the American League Central for the fourth consecutive year, the Detroit Tigers‘ fortunes this October will rest squarely on the right arm of one Justin Brooks Verlander. 

Admittedly, that’s a bold statement, especially when you consider Detroit’s $164 million roster includes the likes of 2012-13 MVP Miguel Cabrera, 2013 Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, 2013 A.L. ERA leader Anibal Sanchez, five-time All Star Victor Martinez and new arrival David Price, who happened to win the Cy Young in 2012.

But Verlander is the Tigers’ No. 1 starter. Their Big Dawg. Their hombre. Their bouncer. Their ace. And to win in October you need an ace.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, Verlander has done everything this season but pitch like an ace. In fact, his 4.66 ERA this season is more than a full run higher than any of the Tigers’ other starters, and his WHIP of 1.42 also ranks as the worst among his rotation mates. Those are definitely not results the Tigers’ front office envisioned when it gave Verlander a seven-year, $180 million extension last year in the hope he would be the horse the organization could ride to its first world championship since 1984.

It’s imperative Verlander rights the ship before the start of the playoffs for three reasons. First, the rest of the Tigers’ rotation does not eat enough innings to compensate for the team’s weak, overworked bullpen, which will leave Detroit vulnerable in the late innings against playoff-caliber offenses like the A’s, Angels and Orioles

Price is a horse, but in Scherzer and Sanchez, (we’ll assume No. 5 starter Rick Porcello will head to the bullpen in the playoffs), manager Brad Ausmus has two capable starters who’ve averaged only 6.1 innings per start since the beginning of last season. This means Ausmus will be relying on the bullpen to get eight highly leveraged outs in what will likely be razor-tight pitching duels where one misplaced fastball or hanging curve could have disastrous results.

Let’s look at Detroit’s bullpen for a second. Closer Joe Nathan has enjoyed a stellar career with 363 saves and a 2.88 ERA, but this year he’s already blown five saves in just 27 attempts, and his ERA is a bloated 5.45. 

Setup man Joba Chamberlain has had an excellent season, but he’s just two years removed from Tommy John surgery and on pace to nearly equal his personal best of 73 appearances in a season. 

Right-hander Al Albuquerque has also posted good numbers this season; However, his heavy workload may already be affecting his dynamite stuff. His FIP, per Baseball-Reference.com, of 4.32 suggests his current ERA of 3.26 will rise and his K/9 of 10.5 is his worst mark by almost two full strikeouts.   

Finally, left-handed specialists Ian Krol and Phil Coke’s aggregate ERA and WHIP of 4.77 and 1.60, respectively, have caused Ausmus to reach for the Rolaids on more than one occasion this season.

Recently acquired Joakim Soria is solid, but even after his arrival from Texas, Detroit’s bullpen will still be a little short. This is where Verlander comes in. Vintage Verlander—assume the 2012 model when he had a 2.64 ERA to go along with a 1.06 WHIP and averaged 7.1 innings per start—would give his manager the luxury of saving his beleaguered bullpen for other games when an eight-out effort will be necessary to achieve a win.

The second reason why Detroit needs Verlander to return to form is that he and his fellow starters must mask an inconsistent offense. Although Detroit’s 495 runs scored ranks fourth in the A.L., and its OPS of .765 paces the junior circuit, the Tigers’ offense has gone in the tank for extended stretches this season and has been particularly susceptible to power pitching. 

For example, during a 9-17 stretch from May 19 through June 18, Detroit faced hard throwers like Trevor Bauer, Yu Darvish, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Drew Hutchison and Chris Sale and hit only .258, or 20 points below their full-season average.

It will only get tougher in October, when the Tigers will probably have to face the likes of Gray (remember his eight shutout innings in Game 2 of the AL Division Series last year?), Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija, Felix Hernandez and Garrett Richards multiple times in a series. Detroit will need its starters to bring their “A” games for such matchups, meaning Verlander pitching like he has for most of this year simply won’t cut it.

The Tigers’ poor defense is the final reason why Verlander will need to regain his old magic once the leaves start to change color. Although second baseman Ian Kinsler and rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez make a solid double play combination, Cabrera and Nick Castellanos offer below-average range at the corners. And Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez, who has earned a starting job because of his hot bat, are among the A.L.’s worst outfielders according to Baseball-Reference.com’s UZR rankings.

Simply put, Detroit’s starters will need as many strikeouts as possible to negate the team’s porous defense. While Scherzer, with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings, has actually improved his pace from last season, Sanchez’s and Verlander’s K/9 are down significantly. Verlander’s drop—from 8.9 in 2012 to a pedestrian 6.6 this year—is particularly alarming and will have to be improved.

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Anibal Sanchez’s No-Hit Bid Ends After Being Pulled Before 7th Inning

Anibal Sanchez did everything in his power to get the Detroit Tigers a win in Game 1 of the ALCS. Sanchez finished his outing with six innings pitched of no-hit ball.

Jim Leyland pulled Sanchez before the bottom of the seventh inning. His pitch count was already at 116 pitches, and since Detroit was leading 1-0 going into the inning, Leyland didn’t want to take any chances. He opted to bring out Al Alburquerque and hand it over to his bullpen.

With the move, the Tigers manager made history, via the Detroit Free Press.

Sanchez finished with 12 strikeouts and six walks, via MLB on FOX.

Those 12 strikeouts are the most against the Red Sox in postseason history, via ESPN Stats and Info.

What pushed the pitch count up so much for Sanchez was his six walks. While he was working the Boston hitters very well, he was having a bit of trouble with his control. Fifty of his 116 pitches were balls. He still remains in good company, though, via CBS Sports’s Danny Knobler.

The Tigers took the lead in the top of the sixth after Jhonny Peralta singled to center, which allowed Miguel Cabrera to score.

Sanchez is no stranger to a no-hitter. He threw one with the then-Florida Marlins in 2006. Should he have gone the full nine innings, it would have been just the third no-no in postseason history. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and Roy Halladay had one in Game 1 of the 2010 ALDS.

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Detroit Tigers: Sanchez Could Be the Key to an AL Central Three-Peat

In December 2012, the Detroit Tigers signed Anibal Sanchez to a five-year, $80 million contract, bolstering one of the best starting rotations in baseball.

And this season, Sanchez has gone out and defended his mega deal.

Sanchez’s deal was one of the more polarizing contract agreements in Tigers recent memory, igniting outrage from some fans, and elation for others.

The 29-year-old received the deal mostly because of his 2012 postseason success when he earned a 1.77 ERA, 18 strikeouts and 6 walks in 20.1 innings over three starts.

Sanchez helped lead the Tigers to the 2012 World Series, but prior to last year’s postseason, Sanchez’s numbers were mediocre at best.

His 9-13 record with a 3.86 ERA in 2012, combined with his 39-38 lifetime record prior to 2012, had some Tigers fans up in arms about such an expensive, long-term contract.

But in 2013, the right-hander has picked up from where he left off from last October, and has been brilliant for the Tigers.

On Wednesday night, Sanchez earned his career-high 14th win after throwing seven scoreless innings, giving up just five hits and earning 10 strikeouts.

Sanchez improved to 14-7 this season with a 2.50 ERA, which is the best among Tigers starters.

He has the second-most wins on the team, trailing only Max Scherzer and is the only starter trailing Scherzer in strikeouts per nine inning with 9.67. His 9.67 K’s per nine innings is third in the AL.

With the struggles of Justin Verlander, Sanchez has been the Tigers’ second best starter this season, and he’s arguably been the best against the American League Central

Against the AL Central, when it matters the most, Sanchez has been even more outstanding.

Sanchez is 7-3 against divisional opponents and has a sub-2 ERA against three of the four teams in the division.

He’s on pace to earn a career-best ERA and for a career-high in strikeouts. His best game this season came in April against the Atlanta Braves, when threw an eight-inning shutout, striking out 17 batters.

Sanchez’s 17 strikeouts broke the Tigers’ franchise record for strikeouts in a single game, passing Mickey Lolich, who struck out 16 batters twice in 1969.

With 16 games left and the Tigers six games up in the division, Sanchez will have three more regular season starts, where he can help the Tigers bury the Cleveland Indians and lead Detroit to an AL Central three-peat.

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Anibal Sanchez’s 1-Hit Shutout: Another MLB No-Hitter Effort Goes by the Wayside

Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers did not allow a hit throughout the first 25 outs of his outing on Friday against the Minnesota Twins.

It was looking good for the right-hander to record the season’s first no-hitter and second of his career; he had already accomplished the feat back in 2006 with the Florida Marlins.

When Sanchez threw that no-no against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it was the first such feat in the major leagues in over 24 months. Times have changed in recent history, however, as there were seven no-hitters in the league just last season alone.

Let’s go back to Friday night’s ninth inning. After Jamey Carroll struck out looking, Joe Mauer came to the plate and hit a Sanchez breaking ball right back up the middle for a base knock. Of all the players to break up a no-no, it would be Mauer, as he has a career batting average of .324. This was the third no-hitter Mauer has broken up in the ninth inning in his career.

Sanchez battled back to strike out Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau to close out a one-hit shutout in a 6-0 Tigers victory. It sure was a great outing, but he won’t be able to have his name featured on a select list of pitchers with multiple no-nos just yet.

This masterpiece by Sanchez was one of several close calls of no-hitters throughout the season, but there has still yet to be one recorded. Maybe the moment on April 2 (just the third day of the season) when Texas ace Yu Darvish came within just one out of a perfect game was a great foreshadowing of what was to come.

Sanchez needed 130 pitches to get the complete game, and did show some signs of fatigue toward the end of the outing. In an era where the pitch counts of most pitchers are very much watched over and limited, they become a big factor in pitchers being able to close the deal on these rare feats.

Of the seven pitchers to throw no-hitters last season, only two have been up to par this year. That would be Felix Hernandez and Homer Bailey, who are actually the last two pitchers to record no-hitters.

Kevin Millwood (who combined with several relievers on a no-no) is retired from baseball, Philip Humber is in the minor leagues, Johan Santana may never pitch again with shoulder trouble, Matt Cain has given up 13 home runs in 10 starts and Jered Weaver has been on the disabled list for most of the season.

Based on what was just described, it proves that the no-hitter can be somewhat of an anomaly. Sure, there are going to be exceptions (Nolan Ryan being the most glaring), but the feat is not always a good barometer of what kind of pitcher the player really is.

The way pitchers have been starting to dominate more lately, there will no doubt at least be one no-hitter thrown in the 2013 season. Still, it has been almost excruciating to see so many pitchers lose out on that distinction in the seventh inning or later thus far, and will be something to watch closely going forward.

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Anibal Sanchez Further Cements Ace Status with 1-Hitter vs. Twins

Anibal Sanchez came this close.

The Detroit Tigers right-hander was staring his second career no-hitter right in the face at Comerica Park on Friday night, making it through 8.1 innings without allowing a hit. Alas, then came Joe Mauer with a squeaky-clean single up the middle.

A one-hitter would have to do. Sanchez polished off his outing with back-to-back strikeouts of Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau. His final line included 12 punchouts, giving him two double-digit strikeout games so far in 2013. 

The first one saw Sanchez punch out 17 Atlanta Braves back on April 26. I didn’t want to say what I’m about to say now because of the whole small sample size thing, but it’s more safe to say it now that the guy has 10 starts under his belt.

Holy heck, is Sanchez having himself a season. And if you haven’t already been buying this guy as an ace, now’s the time, bucko.

Sanchez now has a 2.38 ERA and 80 strikeouts next to 17 walks in only 64.1 innings. At this moment, he sits atop the FanGraphs WAR charts for pitchers ahead of notables like Adam Wainwright, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and Matt Harvey.

And this is no joke, folks. Sanchez has been nasty ever since he first got settled in the American League last August.

His first four starts in a Tigers uniform after coming over in a July trade from the Miami Marlins didn’t go so well. He gave up 18 earned runs in 20.1 innings, good for a 7.97 ERA.

But since then:

  • 2.15 ERA in eight starts down the stretch.
  • 1.77 ERA in three postseason starts.
  • 2.38 ERA in 10 starts this year.

Add all the starts and all the earned runs together, and here’s what you get: Sanchez has a 2.20 ERA in his last 21 starts in a Tigers uniform.

That’s not a huge sample size, but it’s not a small one either. It’s certainly too big to ignore, and the same goes for the sexiness of the numbers.

It’s also hard to ignore how Sanchez has evolved into the pitcher he’s become.

By all rights, Sanchez probably shouldn’t even be pitching anymore. He had Tommy John surgery in 2003, three years before he even broke into the big leagues. He made a name for himself as a rookie in 2006 with a 2.83 ERA in 18 outings with the Marlins, a stretch that included a September no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he had to go in for major shoulder surgery in 2007.

His recovery kept him out for most of 2008. Then in 2009, he had to hit the disabled list twice due to more shoulder trouble. His arm might as well have had a sign hanging on it: “Damaged goods.”

Apparently not, and the thing is that you’d never know about Sanchez’s injury problems if you were to look only at his velocity numbers. Pitchers tend to lose velocity as they age, and injuries certainly don’t help matters. But Sanchez is different.

Here’s his average fastball velocity by year, according to Baseball Info Solutions by way of FanGraphs:

  • 2006: 90.8
  • 2007: 90.0
  • 2008: 90.5
  • 2009: 90.9
  • 2010: 91.3
  • 2011: 91.7
  • 2012: 91.8
  • 2013: 92.1

Sanchez is throwing more than a mile per hour harder now at the age of 29 than he was in 2006 at the age of 22. It’s not going to work for everyone, but that’s one way to become a late-blooming ace.

It also helps to hone one’s repertoire, and he has done that too.

He’s throwing his changeup more often than ever before this season, and it’s been his best swing-and-miss pitch. BrooksBaseball.net has the whiff percentage on Sanchez’s changeup at 20.37 percent, by far the highest of any of his pitches. To boot, both left-handed and right-handed batters have been fooled by it.

It’s no wonder Sanchez’s changeup ranks among the best in baseball this season. In terms of Linear Weights, the only pitchers who have saved more runs with their changeups this season are King Felix, Doug Fister, Chris Sale and Cole Hamels—see FanGraphs.

You can go far with good fastball velocity and a wicked changeup, but while we’re kissing Sanchez’s butt, we might as well give him props for his above-average slider and command too. His tool chest contains most of the things you want an ace pitcher to carry, and Sanchez has been using all he’s got like a master craftsman in 2013.

And that $80 million contract? I’ll admit that I had it pegged as an overpay based on Sanchez’s brilliant showing in the postseason, but it’s panned out to be the best big-money investment of the offseason.

Maybe the Tigers knew they were buying an ace. Or maybe they just didn’t want to lose Sanchez and are just getting lucky.

Either way, they should sit back and enjoy themselves when Sanchez is on the mound. He’s a good one.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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Anibal Sanchez’s No-Hitter vs. Twins Broken Up in 9th Inning

Detroit Tigers ace Anibal Sanchez was phenomenal on Friday night, nearly throwing the second no-hitter of his career in a 6-0 win over the Minnesota Twins (via SportsCenter).

Sanchez threw 130 pitches, striking out 12 and getting plenty of run support from Miguel Cabrera and company as the Tigers picked up their fourth consecutive win, sending the reeling Twins to their 10th straight loss in the process.

Sanchez was just two outs away when Joe Mauer singled to shallow center, deflating the crowd inside Comerica Park and breaking up the no-hit bid.

It’s been nearly seven years since Sanchez accomplished the feat. He threw the only no-hitter of his career as a member of the Florida Marlins in September 2006, striking out six in a 2-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Minnesota’s starting pitcher, Samuel Deduno wasn’t quite as fortunate as Sanchez on Friday, allowing nine hits and six earned runs in a little over five innings pitched. 

Sanchez has made 10 starts for Detroit this season, boasting a 5-4 record. Although his ERA was decent coming into Friday’s game, his season prior to this performance had been mired in inconsistency on the mound. 

This stat from Bleacher Report MLB writer Zachary Rymer tells the tale: 

A native of Maracay, Venezuela, the 29-year-old Sanchez played for the Marlins from 2006 to 2012 before being traded to Detroit last summer.

The win helps the Tigers keep pace with the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central Division as they improve to 27-19 overall and 15-7 at home.

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Anibal Sanchez Strikes out 17 Batters to Break Tigers’ Record for 9-Inning Game

Anibal Sanchez struck out 17 batters in the Detroit Tigers‘ 10-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at Comerica Park on Friday.

According to CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball, that’s the most any Detroit pitcher has thrown in one game:

That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider some of the guys who have stepped on the mound for Detroit. Sanchez is now in the record book ahead of guys like Mickey Lolich, Jack Morris, Denny McLain and teammate Justin Verlander. Lolich was the previous record holder, striking out 16 batters on two different occasions in 1969.

Sanchez went eight innings in the win, giving up five hits and a walk while throwing a whopping 121 pitches. He was then replaced by rookie Bruce Rondon, who added a strikeout in the ninth.

Throwing eight shutout innings is no easy feat against a team like the Braves. Although Atlanta is 11th in the majors in runs and 16th in batting average, the team is second in slugging percentage. With guys like Dan Uggla and the Upton brothers, there’s always the risk of one mistake going 400-plus feet.

Sanchez made sure to keep the ball on the ground, as he only allowed one fly ball out through his eight innings.  Uggla and Freddie Freeman each struck out four times.

As good as this performance was, it’s arguably not even the best of Sanchez’s career. As a member of the Florida Marlins, he threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 6, 2006. Although, he only had six strikeouts on that night.

With this performance, Sanchez is just building upon what has been a very good 2013 season. The win runs his record to 3-1 with an impressive 1.34 ERA.

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