April 9, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) pitches in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Anibal Sanchez Brilliant, Offense Potent As Tigers Beat Blue Jays 7-3


Tigers 7, Blue Jays 3 (box score)

The Tigers were looking for their starters to go deeper into games after none were able to complete six full innings (albeit while on strict 100-pitch limits) the first time through the rotation, and what they got today was the best start of the season, delivered by Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez cruised fairly effortlessly through seven innings. He gave up single runs in the third and fifth, but his final line up 7 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 2 ER will play every night of the week. He gave up one extra base hit – a triple to Emilio Bonifacio – and generally kept runners off the base paths.

Drew Smyly and Al Alburquerque combined to pitch a scoreless eighth inning.

Joaquin Benoit came in to the ninth and gave up a home run – a mild frustration for a team looking to figure out the best way to lock down the late innings – but the run was meaningless in the context of this particular game. Benoit appeared to be the next-in-line closer – he’s now pitched two non-save ninth innings in a row – but hasn’t yet made an overly compelling case for the job.

Offensively, the Tigers were outstanding. The team pounded away at Toronto starter Brandon Morrow, and finished the game with seven runs on 15 hits. It was one of those games where it’s really difficult to single out individual performances because everyone did their job in a consistent fashion. Torii Hunter (2B), Miguel Cabrera (HR), Prince Fielder (2B), and Alex Avila (HR) all had multi-hit games.

Bullets

  • The Tigers  are now 4-3. That doesn’t sound overly flashy, but the corresponding .471 winning percentage equates to 92-93 win pace, so they’re right on track.
  • How good has Torii Hunter been, huh? He’s had multiple hits in six of the team’s seven games. His .424/.424/.515 batting line is surely BABIP inflated, but you’ve gotta be loving the way he’s stinging the ball on a line.
  • The top four hitters in the lineup currently sport OPS’ of .820, .939, 1.005, and .982. I guess I’ll take that.
  • Alex Avila needs to bring his OBP up a bit still, but he nailed his second homer of the year and boasts a .792 OPS. There was concern of him having a supposed “down year” last year, but he’ll be fine.
  • That was the $80 million Anibal Sanchez.
  • Matt Tuiasosopo had one pinch-hit plate appearance and doubled. He has three hits and a walk in his six plate appearances this season — that’s good enough for a 1.467 OPS, making him the new Brennan Boesch.

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