We have seen the many sides to Anibal Sanchez this year and how good he can be. In April he had a 5.91 ERA and landed on the 10-day IL in May. He came back and was aces in June with a 2.76 ERA in five games, and he has been an impactful part of this post-May 23rd success until recently. On August 23rd, Sanchez was spinning a gem in Chicago and his manager, Dave Martinez, gave him the ball in a 9-0 shellacking to go for a complete game even though the 35½ year old had not pitched past the 7th inning this year. Sanchez would stumble and be pulled after two runs scored and a 112 pitch count which was a new high for him this year. Since that start, Sanchez has pitched to an 8.10 ERA which included a blowout loss against the Mets. Last year in Atlanta, Sanchez had a governor on him and he only pitched once beyond 100 pitches — and this year in a Nats’ uniform he has done that four times already.
Last year in Atlanta, Sanchez had a 2.83 ERA for the entire season, and this year he is at 4.11. There seemed to be a well-known disclaimer when the Nats signed Sanchie to his two-year free agent deal, and that was to go easy on him as less is more. Maybe pushing him to 112 pitches two weeks ago had nothing to do with him giving up 7-earnies against the Mets on Wednesday — but maybe it did. With an extra day’s rest and coming off of that 74-pitch meltdown, we have to hope that Sanchez can lead his team tonight against a depleted Minnesota Twins team that has been stricken with multiple injuries recently. With his many years pitching for the Detroit Tigers, Sanchez has faced these Twins many times before.
For the history buffs, this is the first time the Nationals have ever played at Target Field, and the last time these two teams played each other was eleven years ago in the same year Nationals Park opened in 2008.
The Twins will pitch the right-handed Jose Berrios tonight. He has been a pitcher with much promise but very inconsistent and the wear of the season has put him in his worst stretch of the year where his ERA has been 6.64 in his last seven games and his walk rate is up and his WHIP is 1.63. The Twins are in first place in the AL Central, and lead the majors in home runs. We will have to see who they play tonight. Keep an eye on Mitch Garver who has been their hottest hitter lately.
Speaking of hot players, ESPN has released their impact numbers to pick the MVP and Cy Young awards. Instead of it being a “popularity contest” they base it more on high impact performance geared towards a player’s impact in Hi Lev which should be weighted higher. If you do not want to read it, Anthony Rendon is 3rd in MVP and Max Scherzer is 2nd in Cy and Stephen Strasburg is 3rd in Cy as they only trail Jacob deGrom.
Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins
Stadium: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1st Pitch: 7:40 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports North, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):