If you look at Anibal Sanchez and his record this year with the Detroit Tigers, you might wonder if he has missed a significant amount of time.
Sanchez only has a 2-2 record after his latest nationally televised game ended in a no-decision. Yes, Sanchez has missed some time due to a laceration on one of his pitching fingers, but there is more to this story than meets the eye.
In six of his 10 appearances, Sanchez has walked off the mound and ended up with no win or no loss to show for it. Because he gathered no decision Sunday night, Sanchez has come up with the no-decision tag in his last three starts.
Here are his numbers in those three starts. Sanchez threw 22 1/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on 11 hits with three walks and 21 strikeouts. Fantasy owners would kill to have those type of stats on their teams, and Tigers fans have not had a problem with Sanchez all season.
Where Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer have had high-profile failures this season, Sanchez has largely flown under the radar thanks to some pretty good numbers.
Why has Sanchez not done better? His struggles have more to do with the overall struggles of the team.
In some of Sanchez’s starts, the Tiger bats have been largely absent. The Tigers aren’t the only team whose players have taken starting pitching for granted. Other teams have said, “we don’t need to score too many runs because our pitching will hold us up” with varying degrees of success. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Then there are times Sanchez has solid starts, turns the game over to the bullpen, and… well, you know the rest. If Joe Nathan doesn’t struggle, then Phil Coke blows a lead. Al Alburquerque gives up a game-winning home run. Joba Chamberlain has an occasional rough outing, like when he blew the one-run lead against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. It’s the starter who looks bad because a blown relief appearance means no win or loss for him.
So take a look at Sanchez’s 2-2 record and tell yourself it could be worse. Sanchez could be 2-8 with no end to the disappointment in sight.
Sanchez has pitched as well as he can given the circumstances. Everyone knows it.