5 Detroit Tigers that MUST succeed in 2015

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Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

#4: Anibal Sanchez

When Anibal Sanchez was healthy, he was the Tigers’ most consistent starter in 2014, even more so than Max Scherzer. The problem was he wasn’t healthy enough. He did not get off to a great start, allowing eight earned runs through his first four starts (going 2-2 in that span).

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In his fourth start against Minnesota, he made it through the first two innings of scoreless, hitless ball but left with two outs in the second inning because of a blister on his right middle finger. That injury pushed him to the disabled list, and when he came back on May 18, he was lights out for a two-month stretch before getting bombed for seven runs on July 5 against Tampa Bay.

That game began struggles for Sanchez which included a stretch of allowing 4, 5, 4, 0 and 3 runs. It was clear with his performance that his health might have been an issue. On August 8 he left a game in Toronto with an apparent injury and would effectively miss the rest of the regular season with a strained pectoral muscle.

He pitched an inning in the second from last game of the year in mop-up duty and, of course, pitched two effective innings in ALDS Game 2 at Baltimore before being removed in favor of a bullpen meltdown.

A healthy and effective Sanchez is really the key to the Tigers’ rotation. They are hoping Verlander will be back to form and Price will finally be comfortable and back to himself in 2015, but with Scherzer likely gone, it means Sanchez is that much more vital. Especially with a back-end rotation that features Shane Greene with a limited window of success and Alfredo Simon who is a large question mark.