Twins 6, Tigers 3: A rusty Anibal Sanchez pulled after 3 2/3 innings, may still be dealing with stiff shoudler

Hannah Foslien

The Tigers' loss to the Twins takes a back seat to the status of starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who was pulled after allowing an uncharacteristic four walks and lowered velocity on his fastball.

Minnesota Twins fell behind the Detroit Tigers early, but would come back to win going away, 6-3. But of more concern to the Tigers than the loss was starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez being forced to the game after just 3 2/3 innings due to what the team had termed shoulder stiffness.

Sanchez (6-6) had been scratched from his previous start due to the same shoulder stiffness. He never looked quite right against the Twins, walking a season high four, while allowing five hits and two runs. Rarely touching 90 on the radar gun, the plug was pulled on Sanchez's start after allowing a walk and three hits in the fourth, including a two run home run to Trevor Plouffe.

Samuel Deduno (3-1) pitched seven strong innings for the victory, giving up two runs while scattering seven hits. Glen Perkins pitched the ninth the Twins, picking up his 16th save.

Plouffe was the hitting star for the Twinkies with three hits and three RBIs, pacing a 14 hit attack against four Tigers pitchers. Jhonny Peralta accounted for the majority of the Tigers' offense with a two RBI single.

Post game, Jim Leyland claimed his starting pitcher is not suffering from any sort of malady.

But the story of the night remains the status of Sanchez. There's been no word from the Tigers if other action will be taken, if any. Let's hope Leyland isn't just blowing smoke.

Making his first appearance after being scratched from his previously scheduled start, Sanchez allowed a first pitch pitch single to the former cult leader, ex-Tiger Clete Thomas. After Thomas advanced to second on a ground ball, Sanchez struck out Justin Morneau on back-to-back letter-high breaking balls to end the inning.

While Deduno was retiring the first six Tigers he faced, Sanchez walked the first two batters he faced in the second. After the second free pass, Jim Leyland and trainer Kevin Rand immediately headed to the mound to check on their highly paid starting pitcher. Once they were convinced Sanchez was fine, he remained in the game.

To prove he was fine, Sanchez struck out Chris Parmelee looking, then got a 6-4-3 double play ball off the bat of Brian Dozier to the end the threat.

Leading off the third, it would be up to Donnie Baseball to break up Deduno's non-no. Don Kelly launched a fly ball to deep right which would have left Comerica Park. But thanks to Target Field's 23' right field wall, the ball remained in the park, and Kelly was held to a double.

Omar Infante moved Kelly to third with a ground ball. The Twins proceeded to move their infield in, and it worked. Alex Avila hit a ground ball to short and Kelly was off on contact (likely a planned call). But Perdo Florimon made a backhand stop, then fired home to throw Kelly out at the plate on a very close play (a nice way of saying Kelly looked to safe).

Of course, Austin Jackson would then single, the Tigers having run themselves out of an early lead. Andy Dirks would bounce out to another edition of "TTBDNS."

It would be the Twins who would run into an out in the bottom half of the third. Two down and Joe Mauer on via Sanchez's third free pass of the game, Ryan Doumit send a can of corn to left. Dirks got an awful break on the ball, which it allowed it to fall in for a single. But Dirks quickly made up for his misplay, firing a strike to second. Doumit was a dead Twin running, Infante slapping on the tag to end the inning.

Deduno plunked Miguel Cabrera leading off the fourth. Prince Fielder then golfed a Deduno pitch off his shoe-tops, sending a nine iron single into short left. The play in front of him, Cabrera showed off his baseball IQ by aggressively taking the extra base, advancing to third.

Once again the Twins moved their infield in to great effect. Victor Martinez grounded out to first, Fielder advancing to second, Cabrera forced to hold his ground. One down and Peralta with a chance at a pair of RBI, Deduno shattered his bat on a two-strike pitch. But as Jim Price likes to say, "The bat died a hero." Perlata got enough of the ball to get it past Florimon for a two RBI single to center.

Deduno would pitch out of further trouble, stranding Peralta at second. But the Tigers had broken the ice, taking a 2-0 lead over the ever pesky Twinkies.

Unfortunately, Sanchez committed a pitching Cardinal Sin. Given a two run lead, he immediately gave the two runs back. After Morneau led off with a single, Sanchez surrendered a two run bomb to Trevor Plouffe. His ninth home run of the season knotted the game at 2-all.

After Sanchez walked Dozier, his fourth of the night, it was obvious Sanchez wasn't right. At the very least, he was far from sharp. So Leyland made an appearance on the mound. At the same time, the long missing in action Darin Downs was up in the pen (HE'S ALIVE!). After Leyland returned to the dugout, apparently he was told Downs was ready. He turned around and made his second mound visit of the inning, ending Sanchez's night.

Making his first appearance since June 2 and only the second since May 23, Downs showed no early signs of after-effects caused by his mushroom treatment, ending the inning by striking out Thomas on three pitches.

The Tigers threatened to break the 2-2 tie in the sixth. Fielder reached base for the second straight at bat, doubling to right (make that seven doubles for the Tigers in two games). Two down, Peralta worked a base on balls, leaving it up to Mr. Donnie Baseball.

Kelly did his part, bouncing a single through the right side hole. Tom Brookens waved the big man around. but for the second time in the game, the Tigers had a runner cut down at the plate. Parmelee's throw home was high, and it appeared Fielder easily slid under the tag. But home plate umpire Bob Davidson made the out call. From the naked eye, the call seemed wrong. Replays showed Fielder's lead leg never touched the plate and he may have missed the plate with his lower leg. Safe or not, Davidson's call stood.

It would figure after the Tigers get run out of an inning, the Twins would score in the bottom half of thew sixth, re-taking the lead.

Plouffe led off with a double to left. taking third on Parmelee's single. A third straight hit broke the tie, Dozier coming through with an RBI single to make it 3-2.

The Twins being the Twins, Florimon dropped a sacrifice to move both runners into scoring position (To Bert Blyleven's utter glee). The small ball worked. Joe Mauer looped a single over short to score two, the Twins pushing their lead to 5-2.

It had officially turned into one of "those" games. It became even more apparent when the Twins made three nice defensive plays off hot shots in the top of the seventh, which allowed Deduno to retire the side in order.

One had a feeling of dread and deja vu.

Down 5-2, Leyland dipped into the bowels of the bullpen, reached deep and found Evan Reed, who took over for Downs in the seventh. Recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday after the Tigers sent down Jose Alvarez, Reed was making his first appearance since May 19.

Reed was in trouble from the get go. He allowed a one out double Oswaldo Arcia, who would score on Plouffe's line drive single off the left field wall at the 377 mark. Yes, single. Dirks earned his second assist of the game by throwing a strike to nail Plouffe.

Reed would allow a third base hit, Parmelee reaching second with two out, before ending the inning on a Dozier pop up. But if you take the Tigers' inability to score after the seventh inning, the Twins had all but put the game on ice by taking a 6-2 lead.

The Tigers actually scored in an inning after the sixth, pulling within three at 6-3. Top of eight, Cabrera smashed a one out double to deep left center. He would score on Florimon's E-6, when he threw Fielder's ground ball into the stands. Martinez followed with a walk, but any shot at crooked number inning went out the window when Peralta bounced into a 6-4-3 Twin killing.

Luke Putkonen entered the game for the Tigers in the bottom of the eighth. A double play allowed LuPu to pitch a scoreless inning, the only Tigers pitcher to not allow a run. Small favors...

It being one of "those" games, Perkins closed out the Tigers with little trouble, retiring the side in order.Your final score is Twins 6, Tigers 3.

A miserable game over. Miserable due the Sanchez shoulder issue, but even more so thanks to the brutal play-by-play team of Justin Kutcher and Bert Blyleven, who made a bad game worse with an insipid broadcast and Blylieven's barely contained cheering for his Twins. Even worse, FOX just had to show a clip from the 1987 ALCS, the series which made me a card carrying Twins hater for life.

FOX can DIAF.

But back to baseball matters...

Post game, Sanchez was flummoxed by his performance, but said he felt fine.

In this case, rust would be a good thing.

With the loss, the Tigers fall to 37-29,15-19 on the road, but still hold a 4 1/2 game lead over the Cleveland Indians, who fell to the Washington Nationals.

In Sunday's series finale, the Tigers send Doug Fister (5-4, 3.28 ERA) to the mound. In his past three starts, Fister has been victimized by a lack of run support, going 0-2, but with 2.31 ERA. The Twinkies counter with P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.49 ERA), who was the winning pitcher over Fister in a 3-2 victory over the Tigers on May 25. First pitch is 2:10 ET.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

ESPN has an anti-Tigers bias! (or they aren't good defenders)

If there is one thing I hate more than bunts, it's antiquated blackout rules in sports. Which is why Rod and Mario were not to be found tonight. The game was the FOX national TV window (yet is only being shown in the home markets, go figure), so we get Justin (I'm not Ashton) Kutcher and the Twins' own color man, Bert (Be home) Blyleven. It made for a very, very meh broadcast.

Anibal Sanchez strikes out Justin Morneau swinging on consecutive shoulder high breaking balls to end the first inning.

Don Kelly's third inning double was the sixth straight extra-base hit for the Tigers. They had five hits, all doubles, in their win on Friday night.

On the play Kelly was called out at the plate in the third inning, it appeared to the naked eye Ryan Doumit's tag was high on the leg and Kelly slid safely underneath it. But being this was the game being shown to the smallest audience by FOX, we got crappy replays which were inconclusive.

It was more of the same in the bottom of the third. while Ryan Doumit was being thrown out at second, FOX's cameras were focused on Joe Mauer standing on third.

Meanwhile, in the Tigers' radio booth:

Jhonny Peralta came through with ducks on the pond to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Thhe rheaction whas shwift ahnd phredictable.

2- 0 Thigers
Patrick OKennedy

BHROKEN BHAT SINGHLE
Cabbylander

2 rhun shingle! Thhat bhat dhied ah hhero!
BadCompany22

A not quite right Sanchez allowed two runs, five hits, walked four and was pulled after 3 2/3 innings, ending the Tigers' streak of 14 straight quality starts. Let the speculation begin!

Yesterday, an Amber Alert was issued for Darin Downs.

Downs_milk_carton_medium

Tonight, he was found in a Target Field bullpen!

Darindowns_medium

Good thing the Tigers rediscovered Downs, as he was tabbed to pitch in long relief after Sanchez was given the hook. Better to be safe than sorry, though...

Downs with 1.1 IP today. Gonna need a 3 month rest to keep up his recent pace.
RationalSportsFan

He's out until spring training...
texastigerfan

Blyleven's deep thoughts of the night in regard to Downs' approach:

"Downs is throwing strikes."

I really miss Rod Allen.

Phil Coke's Brain takes the FOX broadcast out of context and works blue:

Blyleven spent a good part of the sixth RAVING over Pedro Florimon's sacrifice bunt, Joe Mauer's single and in general seemed gleeful over the Twins taking the lead. It made me almost wish for Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. ALMOST. But a pox on FOX for being so cheap and using the home team's color man instead of bringing in an impartial announcer.

After watching the light hitting Twins rake against Evan Reed, I have to agree:

Later in the game, we got audio from home plate umpire Bob Davidson. He might have made the right call on the Fielder play at the plate, but for the wrong reason. Replays showed Fielder may have missed the plate. When pressed by Jim Leyland, Davidson claimed Fielder had been tagged out before reaching the plate.

Nah, there's no need for replay.

THREE ROARS:

Don Kelly: Two more hits for Donnie Baseball.

Jhonny Peralta: Drove in a pair of runs to account for the only earned runs against Twins pitching.

Luke Putkonen: The only pitcher to not allow a run deserves a ROAR.

THREE HISSES:

Darin Downs: Allowed five hits and three runs in 2 1/3 innings. Maybe he should have stayed lost.

Alex Avila: Average drops to .162 after an 0-for-3 night. His struggles at the plate have to be dealt with soon. Good defensive catcher and handler of pitchers or not, you can't stay in the everyday lineup with an OBP of .265.

Evan Reed: Pitched one inning, allowing three hits and a run. The Twins running into an out kept the inning from being worse. Why is Bruce Rondon still in Toledo and Reed up with the big club?

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 1,415
Total commenters 46
Commenter list AZBadger03, Alex Baker, Amish Houdini, BadCompany22, BigAl, C5wynn, Cabbylander, DJ Screw, DetroitSports, FantasyNomad, HobbsStrikesOut, HookSlide, J_the_Man, Jacob30, JerseyTigerFan, Lukas M, MSUDersh, Matthew Malek, NCDee, RationalSportsFan, RewertsSpartan, Rob Rogacki, SAchris, SabreRoseTiger, SanDiegoMick, Scarsdale_Vibe, Sneechin', SonataArctica, SpartanHT, Starsailor, The Skipper, TheLegacyofJordanTata, There Can Only Be One Verlander, Tigerdog1, Trout Jefferson, Verlanderful, ahtrap, bobrob2004, dishnet34, dominator039, frisbeepilot, knucklescarbone, rbbaker, rock n rye, stevenyc, texastigerfan
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/6/15/4433098/game-66-tigers-at-twins-7-15-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/6/15/4434232/game-66-overflow-sorry-mick-tigers-at-twins

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 texastigerfan 113
2 SanDiegoMick 105
3 Tigerdog1 76
4 Rob Rogacki 75
5 Sneechin' 74
6 BadCompany22 74
7 frisbeepilot 73
8 SabreRoseTiger 73
9 stevenyc 71
10 NCDee 59

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
5 RationalSportsFan i was going to say we need an
2 Tigerdog1 Parmalee
2 Rob Rogacki [no title]
2 stevenyc Don't get those Canadians riled
2 NCDee Who was the ump behind the plate?

GAME 65 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Rick Porcello Rick-rolled over the Twins and in the PotG balloting with 91% of the vote.

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