Game 21: Breaking down Sanchez’s performance

Yes, the Braves have a lot of high-strikeout hitters. And yes, I realize they were hacking with a 10-run deficit after four innings.

Anibal Sanchez’s ability to pile up 17 strikeouts against them remains a feat.

Usually when a pitcher puts up that many strikeouts in a game, somebody makes solid contact and produces some damage. Not only did Sanchez shut out the Braves, he kept the Major League leaders in home runs from anything close to clearing the fences. He gave up two gappers to the fence and a ground ball down the line, all of them doubles, and they accounted for the only runners in scoring position Sanchez faced all evening. The only one to advance to third did so on a passed ball.

In addition to the franchise-record 17 strikeouts, Sanchez induced seven groundouts. The only out in the air was the first out of the game, Andrelton Simmons’ popout to first baseman Prince Fielder. No outfielder recorded a putout. The only time they touched the ball were on the five base hits.

Sanchez threw 84 of his 121 pitches for strikes, and 27 of them were swings and misses according to MLB.com’s Gameday data on brooksbaseball.net. He recorded swings and misses with six different types of pitches, including 10 swings and misses off of his changeup.

He recorded first-pitch strikes to 19 out of 29 batters, which is impressive. More impressive were the 0-2 counts, 11 of them. Eight of them ended in strikeouts, along with a groundout and a double play. The only Brave to escape an 0-2 count was B.J. Upton, who struck out 169 times last year. He went from an 0-2 count to a two-out walk that extended the second inning for Juan Francisco, who promptly struck out on three pitches.

While the Braves lineup has changed substantially from even last year, Sanchez was at his toughest against the hitters who should know him best, the hitters who were around from the Braves teams that roughed up Sanchez regularly. Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman came up to bat seven times against him and came back with seven strikeouts. Uggla struck out four times on four different pitches. Freeman struck out three times on three different pitches. Francisco, who homered three times against the Tigers in Spring Training, swung and missed at three different types of pitches for strikeouts.

As the strike zone plot from brooksbaseball.net shows, the Braves certainly chased pitches low and out of the strike zone, which Sanchez exploited masterfully. However, he wasn’t getting much off the corner.

sanchezplot042613

He had a 94 mph fastball that resembled his postseason work, and it set up his changeup wonderfully. Add what looked like two different breaking pitches, and Sanchez had nasty stuff. The Braves, in turn, looked nasty chasing it.

20 Comments

Something else that was interesting I thought is that every ground ball except for one to Omar every ground ball went to 3rd base. Peralta, Prince and Sanchez never fielded a ball.

Someone asked, if they could do this why not with Galarraga? http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130425&content_id=45806660&c_id=nyy
Off course , he was not using pinstripes

He tied the mark for a Venezuelan, Santana did the same

What a game for you to see, Gk!!!! Hats off to Anibal. A franchise record and ours is a franchise that dates back to 1900. Athlon Sports Baseball 2013 Preview had an article with an interview of Jeff Jones about the increase in strikeouts and how the Tigers study their opponents. Good read for all us Tiger fans. For you DP guys Cabby, Omar, and Prince completed a critical one for us. Remember with high strikeouts and few hits/walks you get fewer chances for DPs. I just watched the less than three minute version of his seventeen Ks and it was just nasty stuff. What a change up. Our back up catcher, Mr. Pena, looked really sharp behind the dish, too. For me, it will be interesting to see if we see Sanchez and Pena again soon.

El Tigre. Do you think our relief pitchers have come in to too many impossible situations?? Bases loaded. No outs. Two on. Again no outs. How do we compare with other teams. Or is it that a long research deal??

Yeah GK, that wind can get cold. Glad you got to see a stress free game. I picked Anibal for my fantasy team. I like what I see. Trying to decide which games in July and August to go to. I like it hot! Congrats Mr. Sanchez!

What a fun game for GK – way to bring them luck! Sanchez was just amazing, he had them looking downright silly swinging at those pitches. Very impressive and very impressive night for 2E and glad to see Victor getting those hits – a game like that is just what the dr. ordered

Interesting analysis and good info. Totally agree with the point that Anibal’s velocity set up his offspeed stuff masterfully, resulting in swings-and-misses as well as off balance freezes. Awesome separation.

The Tigers are 13 for 21 in two baseball stats. The first one is that quality start thing. We actually have only one real clunker after twenty-one games. The first inning ambush of Rick by the Angels. Another positive is the fact that in the other seven non-quality starts our starters won FOUR of them. That means the bullpen did okay four times along the way. To my way of thinking our starting pitching looks really strong. Our second 13 for 21?? Our home runs in our first twenty-one games. Not good. Been awfully cold at too many games. Do they owe us eight?? More?? Not sure that it is fair to say that. But sure are happy with that .275 team average. Much better than the .243 at the end of April last season. Also the walks are there. And the OBP ?? Tied with Colorado for first. We just need to work on the slugging pct some. Go Tigers!!! You can do it!!!

Early game today. Are we ready to rumble?? Am I concerned about HRs?? Absolutely not! The 1934 Tigers hit 72 HRs and scored well over 900 runs. Of course, they had four future Hall of Famers and other star players. Team batting average was.300. In modern baseball if we can get close to .285 we will be fine.

The Tigers bullpen, WAR :.third in MLB
20 games: reliever came with runners on.8th AL
39 empty bases. 11th
29 games in high leverage 5th
32 IR 9th
15 score second
47% second
Blsaves second with four
5th in save situations
5th in holds
third to last in saves
http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2013-reliever-pitching.shtml

Thanks, El Tigre. Our BP has some work to do. Our manager needs to make sure he has the right guy at the right time. That will help. For me, today will be the Reds and Nationals.

Doubles and a 3-run homer last night. 10 runs. Funny how that works.
Blackout today, enjoy the game everyone.

hey rich how do you usually watch the games? do you get FSN detroit where you are?

I do, signed up through DirecTV Extra Innings package since 2004. I also get the MLB.TV package. That’s why blackouts bug me so much.

I’ll get the Washington game today on Fox. That’s the local team anyway, so it just seems idiotic.

Anyone know if this is a national game like last Saturday??

It is the 10am PST game on Fox in SoCal.

Medlen is pretty good. He could pose some serious problems today.

It is national game but I have Mets-Phillies

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