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Anibal Sanchez had himself a ballgame

Apr 26, 2013, 9:48 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

With all due respect to Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann, the author of a one-hit shutout against the Cincinnati Reds, Anibal Sanchez was tonight’s best pitcher. The right-hander, who signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Tigers back in December, shut out the Braves with a franchise record 17 strikeouts over eight innings.

The Braves entered the night with the fifth-best offense in the National League averaging 4.6 runs per game with a league-best 35 home runs, but Sanchez kept the Braves’ bats silent with masterful pitching from start to finish, allowing only five hits and one walk. It also didn’t hurt that the Tigers spotted him a ten-run cushion with a four-run third and six-run fourth.

Sanchez tied Mickey Lolich’s Tigers club record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game (16) when he got Reed Johnson to strike out swinging for the second out in the eighth.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland opted to use Bruce Rondon in the ninth rather than allow Sanchez to finish his masterpiece. However, Sanchez was 121 pitches, so it is justifiable.

The last pitcher to strike out 17 or more batters was Brandon Morrow, who tossed a one-hit shut-out with 17 punch-outs against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 8, 2010. Others to do it in the 2000′s include Johan Santana (2007), Ben Sheets (2004), Randy Johnson (twice in 2002, once in 2001), Curt Schilling (2002), and Pedro Martinez (2000).

  1. papacrick - Apr 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Earning that contract.. Craig must be crying a river right now

    • natslady - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      How’s that Gattitude right about now?

      • baseballisboring - Apr 27, 2013 at 3:28 AM

        I think Gattitude works better as a rapper name.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 3:38 AM

        Loving it!

      • Walk - Apr 27, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Varies day to day but currently 3.5 games up on nattitude.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      I kinda think the part that really made Craig cry was walking Don Kelly.

  2. flamethrower101 - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    I’ll be honest. I was pissed as heck when Sanchez didn’t come out for the 9th. Thought he at least deserved a chance to try for the record of 20 K’s. Would’ve been awesome to see. That said, I don’t blame Leyland for pulling him. 121 pitches after 8. It’s only April so of course you don’t wanna screw up your pitchers all for a slim chance at a record.

    Still, would’ve been really nice to see. This was by far the best game he’s ever pitched and that’s including his no-hitter.

  3. historiophiliac - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Hell, yeah, he did! It was beautiful and he was loving it! The crowd was loving it. I was loving it…and now I’m going out to celebrate! Wahooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Walk - Apr 26, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Solid strike zone tonight as well. Here is pitch fx for anibal if anyone is interested http://tinyurl.com/cn3tjk5

    Add me to the group that wanted to see him pitch the ninth inning, but I understand why considering his pitch count.

  5. Old Gator - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    And we need to recognize the genius of Scrooge McLoria and the rest of the Feesh front orifice for writing Sanchez off last year. Can these guys recognize an evolving talent or what?

    • flamethrower101 - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      Obviously they’re very good at that. That’s why they shipped him off. You know, ’cause having talent meant you were gonna get paid – something the Marlins are obviously not interested in doing.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 3:41 AM

      You’re trying to make me grateful to that…that…person?!

  6. natslady - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    JZimm was good, and very cool. He got his complete game shutout in 91 pitches. Yep, you read that right. Only 4 strikeouts. Chicks dig the contact, y’know.

    Was at the game. There’s no DH in the National League, as some of you may realize, so to get the CG shutout, JZ had to bat for himself. When he came in the bottom of the 8th, man on 1st, 1 out, with a 1 run lead—> standing O. What a moment.

    One hit from Gio, one hit from JZ. The last time the Cincinnati Reds were held to one hit or zero hits in two successive games was the year 1900–113 years ago.

    • Walk - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      Plenty of dh’s in the nl, take dan uggla for instance no really take him, Atlanta needs someone who knows how to throw a baseball manning second.

    • jonrox - Apr 27, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      It must have been nice for Zimmerman to get free outs from the Reds’ pitcher spot all night

      … and shortstop and catcher

      • natslady - Apr 27, 2013 at 6:29 AM

        Yeah, I didn’t get that line-up either. (He was walked the catcher, which was the oddest moment of the night), Still, he got Votto, Phillips, Frazier…

      • jdouble777 - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        Must have been nice to face the team that was widely expected to set the MLB record for strikeouts on a night another pitcher pitches a ONE HIT CG SHUTOUT.

    • tommyshih - Apr 27, 2013 at 3:06 AM

      Not everything is about the Nats.

  7. recoveringcubsfan - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Zimmermann threw the better game and finished all 9 in only 91 pitches, too. Having a 10 run lead halfway through the game changes things for the pitcher, sure, but it could also explain a lot of the strikeouts, as hitters that far behind might be pressing more than usual. So for my money, the Nats kid did the better job against just a fearsome an offense.

    The bigger issue from this game is, is this the Achilles heel of the Braves? If they fall behind by a significant margin, is the lineup this year even more susceptible to strikeouts, i.e. are these players so swing happy that it will be hard for them to ever come back from a huge hole? Time will tell. Braves fans, you knew what kind of hitters you were getting and that the sword has a double edge.

  8. joerymi - Apr 26, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Great piece of pitching.

    And hell, maybe Porcello can follow that with a 17 hit performance tomorrow.

  9. dawgpoundmember - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    let’s put this in perspective. I’m in a bar with about 20 people in it when sanchez had 14 k….some guy came up to me and asked if I knew buster Douglas….my response was never met him. once Sanchez was pulled I found out he was sitting right behind me.

    • natslady - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      OK, I looked up Buster Douglas and I still have no idea what your post means.

      Here are some nice quotes…Especially, “I don’t care about strikeouts.” As McCatty said, “Strikeouts are b—s—”. (Still, it’s nice to know Atlanta can be had.)

      From Wapo.

      Zimmermann thrives in the strike zone. He noticed on Thursday that Gonzalez had found success low in the zone against the Reds and planned to execute the same game plan. He looked up the tendencies of the Reds hitters and found them to be aggressive, particularly on the first pitch.

      The Reds rolled over inviting pitches and sent balls into the outfield for outs. Zimmermann induced 11 groundouts and 12 flyouts. He was so efficient he tossed 10 pitches or fewer in five innings. While some pitchers shy away from contact, Zimmermann welcomed it. He offered up his best pitches to hit.

      “I’m just throwing strikes and trying to get ahead of guys and not trying to get deep in the counts and letting them put the ball in play,” he said. “I don’t care about strikeouts. I don’t want to walk anyone.”

      To throw off aggressive hitters the second and third time through the order, Zimmermann started at-bats with off-speed pitches. He fired curveballs at fastball-hitting Xavier Paul. He tossed first-pitch sliders to Brandon Phillips and Todd Frazier, another fastball killer. He threw 12 off-speed first pitches.

      In the seventh inning, Zimmermann was hit in the non-throwing hand by a comebacker, a minor bruise that wouldn’t prevent him from finishing the game.

      I was a little worried there, that “minor bruise” is gonna hurt tomorrow. But he had the adrenalin going tonight. Great job.

      Oh, and the one run was Harper, of course. A triple and then a Werth single.

      • dawgpoundmember - Apr 27, 2013 at 2:06 AM

        I’m sorry you don’t understand, I obviously don’t know you but I know you are a regular around here. And I understand your comment; I’d rather my starter be efficient and to quote Crash Davis. “Strikeouts are boring, besides that, they’re fascist.”

        So, what my post means is that when an undisputed heavyweight champ that knocked out Mike Tyson means nothing; breaking over 100 years of history does. And, D.C. Doesn’t have that.

      • natslady - Apr 27, 2013 at 6:36 AM

        OK, thanks, I get it now. So, 113 years of history? I mean, it’s not the stat everyone quotes every day, but the Reds have been around a long time. From the game report by Zuckerman,

        >How rare are back-to-back 1-hitters? The Nationals/Expos franchise had never done it before. The last D.C.-based team to do it was the 1917 Senators. The last time it happened to the Reds? July 5-6, 1900.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      BTW, I was living in Columbus when Buster beat Tyson. The whole city went bananas — even though I don’t think anyone had any idea who Douglas even was before that. Everybody loves you when you’re a star.

  10. weaselpuppy - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:30 AM

    Pretty nifty 4th starter ;)

    • nflfollower - Apr 27, 2013 at 10:02 AM

      He wasn’t the 4th starter in last years playoffs (scherzer was) and he won’t be the 4th starter in this years postseason either. Of course I’m assuming the tigers will win the Central, I know.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Scherzer’s start in the post-season last year was delayed by his shoulder issues.

  11. Minoring In Baseball - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Heck, yeah, let him earn his money. Pretty solid performance by the Tigers all around, who’ve been playing very mediocre lately. Good for Sanchez, and I hope all the starters get a little competetive with each other.
    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

  12. historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Sometimes the wins are so freaking beautiful…and then the losses are so unbelievably humiliating. This night, it’s glorious.

    • natslady - Apr 27, 2013 at 6:38 AM

      Yup.

    • indaburg - Apr 27, 2013 at 7:45 AM

      Ain’t this game grand? :-) I’m happy for your boys.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        I was seriously dancing around the living room. LOL (FYI, when V-Wiggles blows it, I do drop down on the floor. It amuses my brother — who is nonetheless sympathetic.)

      • indaburg - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        That’s a pretty funny vidual. I am right there with you and the celebrating. There is much joy and dancing after a spectacular victory, and anger and frustration during the tough losses. I mostly let my anger out on the poor remote control. We’re on our third.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Gritty!

      • indaburg - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Just re-read my comment. Apparently, I have a lisp when I write. vidual = visual

        I do have a victory dance but my gritless and punchless Rays have given me very little to dance about so far.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        You should buy remotes in bulk.

      • indaburg - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        The way this season is going, you’re right. I better see if Costco has some.

  13. wingsrule12 - Apr 27, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    How does that trade last year look now. Sanchez is a solid #3. Infante has solidified 2nd base. Great move Dave

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