Detroit Tigers: Week 9 Heroes and Zeroes

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May 24, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) reacts to a three run home run by Houston Astros left fielder Preston Tucker (20) in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Zero: Anibal Sanchez

The Detroit Tigers have to be concerned that Anibal Sanchez is not going through a slump but something is majorly wrong with him.

Whether that be an undiagnosed injury, a mechanics flaw, telegraphing pitches, or (more dire) he has just suddenly lost it.  He is still relatively young (31), but something is just not right with Anibal this season.

Unlike Greene, however, the Tigers were counting on Sanchez to be a horse this season. With Greene, you thought you were getting a decent starter but he was just a rookie last year for the New York Yankees, so he could really go either way this year. Unfortunately he has struggled.

But Sanchez was counted on to be a reliable #3 guy and his importance was ratcheted up with the departure of Max Scherzer and the Spring Training injury of Justin Verlander. He has failed to live up to any expectations the Tigers have had for him this year.

After an encouraging outing in Anaheim two weeks ago when he allowed just two runs but received no run support in a 2-0 loss, he, like Greene’s start, put the Tigers’ anemic offense in an early hole after allowing four runs by the third inning. The Tigers could only muster one run, in the bottom of the ninth to avoid the shutout, so he probably would have lost that game too, but it might have been a different story if it was 0-0 or a 1-0 deficit in the middle innings.

Sanchez starts the Cubs’ series Tuesday night. Which Anibal will we get?

Next: Tigers getting healthy at right time