Anibal Sanchez is starting again because screw you, Tigers fans

Anibal Sanchez used to be a beast on the mound. In 2013, he finished the season with the lowest ERA of any American League starter, beating out even Max Scherzer in his Cy Young-winning year. That ERA of 2.57 may have actually been a bit inflated by the Beer League infield defense behind him, too, if you can believe that -- his FIP (Fielding-Independent Pitching) was only 2.39 that season.

I want to just camp out here, because it's relaxing and the view is great. He was striking out more than a batter per inning. He was regularly pitching into the seventh inning. He was giving up just one home run in roughly every three starts.

That was the year he nearly no-hit the Twins, on May 24. He struck out the side in the ninth to earn the complete game shutout, and the only mistake he made was allowing a single to Joe Mauer as the second batter of that inning. Nine innings, 12 strikeouts, no runs, and just one hit.

That was also the year he set the Tigers' franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game. Mickey Lolich had struck out 16 batters in a single game, and he'd done it twice in the same year -- May 23 and June 9 of 1969. 

But on April 26, 2013, Anibal Sanchez faced the Atlanta Braves, and absolutely carved them up for eight solid innings. He struck everybody out that night. Hell, he struck you out, and you were at a private dinner party. 

He struck out the side in the second inning, and then did it again in the eighth to set the record (warning: Dan Dickerson awesomeness ahead):

And then he went into Game One of the 2013 ALCS and struck out 12 Red Sox in the span of just six innings. I mean, come on, man. That's not even fair.

I'm trying to stay focused on all of this now, because Sanchez is taking the mound tonight against the Twins, and literally zero Tigers fans are happy about it. I'm not happy about it, you're not happy about it, and that one super-negative friend of yours on Facebook who only re-posts angry memes about how much the Lions suck -- he's really not happy about it.

Anibal Sanchez went from being awesome in 2013 to being the worst pitcher the Tigers have. They all know it, too. They sit around the clubhouse and someone will say "who's the worst pitcher we have?" and then everyone will silently point right at Anibal while they keep on doing whatever they were doing. 

He's nearly the worst starter in all of baseball. Here, let's count down the list of worst pitchers based on ERA:

Ubaldo Jimenez, 7.38, Shelby Miller, 7.14, Chris Young, 6.86, AHA HERE WE GO, Anibal Sanchez, 6.75.

He has allowed 58 earned runs in just 14 starts. Here's what that looks like in relation to the other starting pitchers' first 14 starts:

And here's what that looks like in relation to the total number of runs the entire team has given up all year long:

In 14 starts, his team has lost 11 games. This is what that looks like on paper:


That's just wrong. That's like a bowl of Alpha-Bits Cereal that just friggin' hates you.

And there are no answers. Just more ugly numbers. Right-handed batters are hitting .321 against him, but left-handed batters are hitting .272, so that's not a platoon advantage, really.

His ERA in starts on the road is 9.15, but then again, his ERA at home is 6.68, so it's not like there's an advantage there either. (Although I guess we should take some comfort in knowing that his start tonight is at home. Focus on the little things, I suppose.)

I don't know why he's still starting games. Yes, I realize Jordan Zimmermann is injured, and so is Daniel Norris, so now we're literally looking at guys named Buck Farmer or Thad Weber out of Toledo. Or you pitch a bullpen game, I guess. 

Hell, I don't know, maybe you drag a rusty old pitching machine out of the clubhouse, sling a used jersey over it, wheel it out to the mound, and plug that baby in for five innings.

Send Rich Dubee out to the mound every 35 pitches with an oil can to get rid of some of the squeak.

The trade deadline is just 13 days away. Whether they find a team to take a chance on Sanchez, or whether they trade for another starter and send Anibal to the bullpen permanently, I can't imagine he'll get much more than one more start after this.

So what do you say, Sanchy, old friend? Rattle off another 12 strikeouts tonight, just for old time's sake?
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