Game 40: Anibal Sanchez’s home runs by the numbers

Anibal Sanchez has given up three home runs before. He did it last month in Pittsburgh, in fact. He had never given up three homers in an inning.

On Tuesday, he gave up home runs to three consecutive batters, nine pitches apart.

“Today is one of those days when everything happens so fast, you don’t realize what happened,” he said afterwards.

The home-run trend this season, by contrast, has been long developing, though it seemed to be done until Tuesday. He gave up seven home runs in Spring Training, then five homers in a two-start span in mid-April. He then gave up only one home run over his previous five outings.

Now, here are the numbers he’s looking at:

  • His nine home runs allowed this season match his total from 2013, the year he won the American League ERA title. He’s also nearly halfway to his career-high of 20 homers allowed in 2011 and 2012.
  • His six home runs at Comerica Park have him on track to threaten the single-season record of 16, set by Jason Johnson in 2004 and matched by Armando Galarraga in 2008.
  • His two three-homer games are one off the Tigers season high in the Comerica Park era, last accomplished by Max Scherzer in 2011. Others to do it include Hideo Nomo in 2000, Dave Mlicki and Jose Lima in 2001, Nate Robertson in 2006, Mike Maroth in 2007 and Galarraga in 2008.

Brad Ausmus believes at least part of the problem is leaving pitches up when he’s out of the stretch. Still, five of the nine homers he has allowed have been solo shots.

“It’s been clearly something that is uncharacteristic for Sanchie,” Ausmus said. “The long ball wasn’t an issue last year, but this year has been a little bit of a different story. Now, we’ve also seen some outstanding starts from Sanchie, but when he doesn’t have his command down in the zone, his offspeed pitches especially, that’s when they hit him.”

His next start will further the challenge. The Astros lead the Majors in home runs with 57.

“Everything I need to fix, I will do,” Sanchez said. “Everything I need to make me strong for the next one, I’ll do. I’m not going to stop today, I’m not going to stop tomorrow, I’m going to continue working. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I know in the season, it’s early now, but whatever I have to do to go to the mound like I used to, I’ll do.”

8 Comments

I think Ausmus summed up Anibal’s performances and problems pretty succinctly. And Sanchez seems most willing to work on his issues. I’m curious as to what causes his command issues. Presumably Sanchez and the Tigers have this figured out. Or not?

I’m grateful I have a previous commitment tonight and won’t be subject to watching these guys play (I mean not play) tonight. I need a break.

I’ve thought for some time now that Sanchez has problems working out of the stretch, but as Jason pointed out, that’s not the entire issue. When Jeff Jones is making mound visits early, you know it’s mechanical. With a pitcher the caliber of Sanchez, I assume this will get fixed. Soon, I hope.
Or as my wife said as the third homer left the park, “He’s injured.” I couldn’t say she was wrong. These guys hide injuries like Dad hiding his porn collection.

I recently listened to an opposing team’s broadcast crew (I don’t recall which team) as they analyzed Anibal’s delivery. Out of the windup, he torques his hip. Out of the stretch, that torque causes problems because the ball takes too long to get to the catcher, allowing runners to take liberties on him. I watched Sanchez afterwards. Sometimes, he torques very little to be quicker to the plate. Perhaps the delivery inconsistency may result in command problems. Of course that doesn’t explain the last 2 HRs from yesterday.

That’s pretty much what I see. I might even venture as far as he’s fine until that first baserunner, after which even his windup is messed up. There some here on this blog that could have crushed those hangers he threw.

good one Rich – Sanchez is going through a rough stretch – has a horrible outing, works on it and comes back and does fantastic, so his next start I expect a gem.

I sure hope they can find a way to get Cespedes and Castaflyout to figure out their plate discipline or approach. Nick is infatuated with hitting to RF when in reality he is a better hitter when he considers turning on some pitches and leveling out his stroke when pulling the ball. Too many easy lazy flies to right.
Cespedes constantly puts himself in the hole by taking he first pitch. He did take a hack at one in his last at bat last night though.
For the lineup to work those guys are critical. They simply can’t be easy outs like they were Avila and Kelly.

I would suggest starting Rajai, RHer’s be damned. Need someone to make things happen and can also make it possible to rotate the DH more. Try swapping Iggy and Gose just to see what happens. Things a manager can do.

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