Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez didn’t need the help of Whoopi Goldberg to get his groove back. After two consecutive poor starts, Sanchez had a great game against the New York Yankees and a suitable follow-up performance against the Minnesota Twins which unfortunately ended in a loss. After some concern that he was giving up far too many home runs, it looks like Sanchez is back to pitching like his usual self.
As highly valued as he is Sanchez’s reputation might be a little exaggerated. He has never made an All-Star team and other than his tremendous 2013 season where he went 14-8 with a league leading 2.57 ERA on his way to finishing 4th in the Cy Young voting, Sanchez has been a quality pitcher and not a great one.
The worry that Sanchez was giving up too many home runs was a completely valid concern. He has already allowed 5 in 2015 after giving up only 4 last year in 126 innings pitched. For his career, he has only allowed 0.7 home runs per 9 innings pitched. This year, he’s more than double that number at 1.5 per 9.
His second game of the season was the one that first led to questioning his performance. Sanchez allowed home runs to three Pittsburgh Pirates in his first loss of the season. His next start, this one against the Chicago White Sox, was horrific and included two more home runs allowed. For a guy who doesn’t give them up very often, it was shocking. Of all places for him to go 6.1 innings with only 1 hit allowed, he did it in an afternoon game against the Yankees. His groove officially returned and we can all stop worrying about this blip on the season.
The next time Sanchez takes the mound will be Sunday in Kansas City. There’s a chance it could be an early battle for first place in the division. The most important game of the season yet, let’s have some faith in the guy.