Gem is an Understatement: Anibal Sanchez’s Complete Game Shutout Lifts Tigers Into First Place


September 25, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) celebrates after pitching a complete game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Tigers 2, Royals 0 (box score)

The Tigers didn’t score after the first inning of this baseball game – and normally that would cause the #Doom #Rage to reappear – but on this occasion the feeble run scoring ability was no big deal. Because on this very night, Anibal Sanchez completely validated the deadline deal the Tigers made to acquire him. On this night he was Justin Verlander, except good.

Hyperbole? Definitely. But that’s exactly how I feel as I type these words. Sanchez struck out ten Royals while scattering three hits and a walk across nine scoreless innings. He needed only 105 pitches to finish the game. The Royals would not get a base runner past second base, and even then they only had two plate appearances with a man in scoring position.

The win, combined with Chicago’s earlier loss, means the Tigers move into a tie for first place in the American League Central. According to Cool Standings, Detroit has a 51.6% chance of claiming the division crown.

Sanchez’s ERA is now 2.25 in his last seven starts, making him a strong candidate to be the fourth starter should the Tigers finish the job and make the playoffs.

The Tigers may not be in the position we originally thought they would be in on September 25, but there’s no denying the final eight games are set up to contain pure unadulterated drama. And there’s very little better than high-stakes baseball.