Detroit Tigers Need Jose Alvarez to Stay Hot in Anibal Sanchez's Absence

By Connor Muldowney
Jose Alvarez
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite having the best ERA on the team, Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, has been everything Detroit could have hoped for and much more.

Sanchez has a 2.76 ERA this season to go along with a 6-5 record and 101 strikeouts. He has been one of the team’s most reliable pitchers and when his start comes up every fifth day, the Tigers and Jim Leyland know that they will be getting yet another quality start.

However, in an unfortunate turn of events, the 29-year-old starter hasn’t pitched in nearly two weeks. In his final start before hitting the 15-day DL, Sanchez pitched just over three innings and gave up two earned runs. He has had no real history of injury, so this comes as a surprise to the ball club.

Enter, Jose Alvarez, a 25-year-old lefty from Venezuela. The young starter has filled in adequately in his two starts since Sanchez’s injury, posting a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA and 10 strikeouts in just 13 innings. Let’s just say he has put this team in the best position to win even in the absence of one of the team’s top pitchers.

Alvarez may have a future on this team someday, but he is just a fill-in for now. Being called up from Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens is a huge honor seeing as the Tigers have many valuable pitchers in their minor league system.

Facing the Los Angeles Angels  is no easy task, however, as the Tigers seemingly have trouble against this team on a regular basis. Alvarez has faced tough teams before, though, pitching five innings against the Boston Red Sox with two earned runs in a no-decision, with the Tigers winning that game.

So far, the Tigers are 2-0 when Alvarez pitches, so they will hope the same goes for their game on against the Angels. It’s a tough task, but with it possibly his last start before Sanchez’s return, Alvarez may want to put a lasting mark on the team so they know he’s seriously about being a part of the major league squad in the future.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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