Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pic of the Week

Detroit's Anibel Sanchez celebrates
after escaping a bases-loaded jam in
the sixth inning with his 116th
and final pitch.
I said in the Saturday morning post that I was rooting for the Tigers over the Red Sox, and I suppose I am, but my heart's not really in it.

One way I know that is how relieved I felt when Daniel Nova got his single in the ninth inning to break up a five-pitcher no-hitter. Had Joaquin Benoit finished off the "gem," it would have been one of the ugliest no-nos ever.

I reflected on Twitter during the seventh inning that 10 years ago, Anibel Sanchez would almost certainly have continued pitching, but not in today's game. Sanchez at that point had thrown 116 pitches  — 66 strikes, 50 balls, which is not an impressive ratio.

Jim Leyland made the right move on many levels in pulling Sanchez. I suppose there are some who think he should have left his starter in to pursue the no-hitter, but I certainly didn't see any criticism on my Twitter feed. If anything, I got a sense that people felt Leyland should have pulled Sanchez in the sixth, that the Detroit manager had gotten away with one by letting Sanchez get out of his own jam.

It seemed pretty obvious that from reaction after striking out Stephen Drew to end the sixth that Sanchez knew that was his final inning. Chicken or the egg: Did Leyland pull Sanchez because Sanchez expected to be pulled, or did Sanchez expect to be pulled because he knows that's what Leyland would do in that situation? My guess is the latter.

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