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.”