Detroit Tigers: 27-19, 1st Place (.5 ahead of Cleveland). Win streak: 4
“When you pitch a one hitter and the one hit you give up is to a guy with three batting titles, that’s one hell of a performance.” -Jim Leyland
The Tigers re-took first place in style last night. Just 4 weeks after he set a Tiger record with 17 strikeouts against Atlanta, Anibal Sanchez flirted with his 2nd-career no-hitter with a masterful 1-hit, 130-pitch complete game shutout of the Twins.
Well “flirting” may be too mild–it was an all out seduction, and he almost had the thing, until the one guy in the Minnesota lineup most likely to break up a no-hitter came up, and Mauer ended the drama with a solid single up the middle. With his pitch count over 120 and the no-hitter gone, Sanchez smacked his glove at what might have been, stepped back on the mound, and struck out the rest of the side.
Sanchez, Leyland, and some of the Tigers give their reactions to Sanchez’ performance.
After last night’s game, and with Anibal’s 17-K performance still in memory, I began hearing a little chatter about how Sanchez is the real “Ace” of the staff. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that Scherzer was the one that was maybe the real Ace now? (And at times in the past one could even hear that said about Doug Fister). I’m not sure how useful the concept of a staff Ace is; I suppose it does matter when it comes to naming the Opening Day starting pitcher, and when setting up a playoff rotation, otherwise I am not sure. At any rate, I am sure of this: when you have a starting rotation such that you have guys who can compete with Justin Verlander for the title of Staff Ace, your pitching is going to take you a long way
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Andy Dirks. Dirks continues leadoff duties. Andy is on a 7-for-17 streak, and is 3-for-7 with a HR off of The Pajama Man