Washington Nationals vs. Detroit Tigers Series Preview (5/9/5-11)
Anibal Sanchez (3-3, 5.87 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (5-0, 2.36) – 7:05 p.m ET, broadcast on MASN and ESPN
So far this season, Sanchez has only thrown 30.2 innings, which is the second fewest of any Tiger starter who started the year in the rotation (30.1 inning by Mike Pelfrey). For the first time this season, Sanchez went seven innings in a game in his last start.
Against the Indians on May 4, the 32-year-old right-hander went seven innings, gave up four runs on four hits, struck out seven, and walked three on 103 pitches in a loss. The problem for him has been his control. He has walked 18 batters (third in the AL) and three or more batters in four of his six outings.
Sanchez has made 21 career starts against the Washington Nationals, dating back to his time with the Marlins. He is 9-1 in those games with a 1.98 ERA. Ryan Zimmerman is 11-for-48 (.229) against him with one home run and three RBI’s.
After the Nats had to use their bullpen a ton this weekend, they will need Strasburg to go deep into the game tonight. He only went six innings in his last start against the Royals on Wednesday, but remember the Nats had a 6-0 lead before he even took the mound. He gave up two runs on five hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 95 pitches in the win.
This season, Strasburg has pitched into the seventh inning or later in four of his six starts. Plus, he has seven or more strikeouts in each of his last five games. If he gets the win tonight, he will tie Jake Arrieta for the most wins of any starter in the National League.
His only start against the Tigers came back on July 30 in Comerica Park. Strasburg went seven innings, gave up five runs on six hits, struck out seven, and walked three in a loss. Justin Upton is 9-for-31 (.290) against him with two home runs and five RBI’s.
Prediction: This game tonight is going to come down to which pitcher will go deeper into the game when you consider that both teams are in need of a win. With that being said, I trust Strasburg more than Sanchez to get the win and snap the Nats’ four game losing streak while extending Detroit’s to seven.
Next: Tomorrow's Starter