Sanchez Struggles Early While Offense Gets Grimm Diagnosis

"You go to the dugout and think about what you've done!"

“You go to the dugout and think about what you’ve done!”

The Tigers fell for the seventh time in the last 11 games, as another starter failed to make it through three innings. Anibal Sanchez was the latest victim, as he struggled mightily in his short outing and gave up a whopping nine hits and six runs—5 earned—in only 2.2 IP. Sanchez’s ERA jumped from 2.05 to 2.77 due to Saturday night’s debacle, and he became the second Tiger starter to fail to get out of the third inning after Justin Verlander also failed to do so in the opening game of the series.

In a ballpark that often boosts offense and plays to the longball, the Tigers managed only two runs off Texas’ Justin Grimm. Grimm picked up the win with two runs, seven hits, one walk and two Ks over 6.2 IP. A trio of Texas relievers shut the Tigers down after Grimm departed; Michael Kirkman, Tanner Scheppers and familiar foe Joe Nathan combined for a flawless 2.1 IP of relief.

After Sanchez was pulled, Drew Smyly and Phil Coke combined for 5.1 IP, and allowed just 1 run, 4 hit, 2 walk, as they racked up 4 Ks. Smyly was a little wild at times, but lasted 3.1 IP and gave up only the single run, and Coke was strong in his 2 scoreless innings. Smyly and Coke saved the bullpen for the final game of the series and, if these previous three games were any indication, the Tigers might need all hands on deck.

Alex Avila had a rough game as well, as he contributed a throwing error and a passed ball that accounted for the unearned run in the first inning. He also struggled at the plate, as he went hitless and left two on base. Avila is anything but a fluke, but he’s certainly struggling right now.

The Tigers’ loss on Saturday, coupled with Cleveland’s win—following a Chris Perez meltdown, no less—leaves the team one game out of first place.

  • BLAXPHEME

    Struggling right now? He’s been “struggling” for a year and a half. Dude IS a fluke.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=79600073 Ryan Cianfarani

      EXACTLY! The onus is on you to justify how this guy isn’t a fluke, because all of the data points to him, in fact, being a fluke.

      2010 BA: .228, BABIP: .278, HR: 7, RBI: 31
      2011 BA: .295, BABIP: .366, HR: 19, RBI: 82
      2012 BA: .243, BABIP: .313, HR: 9, RBI: 48
      2013 BA: .179, BABIP: .219, HR 4, RBI: 10

      Those stats right there are the definition of fluke. Here’s a quote from fangraph for you: “The average BABIP for hitters is around .290 to .310. If you see any player that deviates from this average to an extreme, they’re likely due for regression.” AKA He’s a fluke, but Daddy is in the front office. Worst of all, Leyland has shifted him into the 6-spot for some reason unbeknownst to any rational individual. If you’re playing this guy, he should be buried in the 8 or 9-spot. I say 8-spot, because I don’t mind him leaving Infante at 9.

      He had one good year, and is showing no signs of ever repeating it. FLUKE. If you disagree, prove it to me.

      • verlander

        Actually, he’s had more than just one good year. He was valuable in 2009 even though he only played 29 games (provided .7 WAR) and he was valuable in 2012 (2.6 WAR).

        He’s never going to live up to 2011 again though. That was a career year and it’s silly to think he should repeat it to be seen as valuable.

        There’s no one better in the system either. Bryan Holaday and James McCann are not starters. Tigers are right to give Brayan Peña more playing time. But Avila isn’t junk. He can provide value. He just needs to figure some things out. Maybe he needs to go to back Toledo for a little bit.

      • verlander

        And don’t you think if Avila was only around because of “Daddy” he’d still be starting over Peña? Leyland’s relegated him to backup, but you don’t hear Al Avila complaining.

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