Detroit Tigers: Anibal Sanchez strong in last three starts since demotion

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Anibal Sanchez
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Anibal Sanchez /

Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers might be a match again, as the 33-year-old right-hander has looked like his past self recently.

Anibal Sanchez has been strong for the Detroit Tigers in his last three outings, this time turning in 6.1 innings of three-run ball with five strikeouts against the Cleveland Indians.

In his last three starts, the 33-year-old has thrown 17.1 innings, allowing six earned runs on 11 hits. More importantly, he’s surrendered just one home run since his June 19 promotion from Triple-A Toledo. He had given up nine long balls in his previous 21 innings of work.

Sanchez had accepted the demotion in May, in hopes of rediscovering himself as a starting pitcher. Two straight quality starts could suggest that Sanchez is back on track.

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The resurgence of a struggling Sanchez would do wonders for a Tigers team in need of pitching. According to, the club entered today with the third-worst ERA in all of baseball (4.88).

It’s always been looked at as a head-scratcher as to why the Tigers have been so faithful to the veteran right-hander. Part of it may be due to his bulky contract, in which the Tigers are paying him $16 million until 2018. The other, which was evident today against the Tribe, would be the sense that he still has above-average stuff left in the tank.

Sanchez has disappointed since signing to a five-year deal in the winter of 2013. The Tigers were right to bring him back, especially after leading the league with a 2.57 ERA. But since then, he’s gone 25-28 with a 4.76 ERA. His last win came August 23, 2016.

He’s been hurt, he’s bounced from rotation to bullpen to rotation again, and has spent some much-needed time in Toledo along the way. But his last three starts have been encouraging enough to speculate whether or not he’s back.

When he received the hook from manager Brad Ausmus in the seventh inning today, he left to a standing ovation from the Motor City faithful. “The best fans in the world, baby,” Tigers radio broadcaster Jim Price beamed.

Next: Tigers 2017 trade deadline predictions

The best fans in the world, who just might be witnessing a major league turnaround.