Aníbal Sánchez’s 2019 debut ended prematurely when a bruise on his right hip, the result of a liner back to the mound that he caught after it hit him, tightened up on him and led to him making the decision a few innings later that he couldn’t continue.
“He got hit with the ball, and he started getting really stiff, so we had to take him out,” Davey Martinez told reporters after what ended up a 9-8 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C.
Sánchez gave up four hits, four walks, and four earned runs in that outing, with two of the hits, three of the walks, and two of the four runs coming after the line drive off his hip.
“He couldn’t get on his legs,” the manager added, noting that it was a hip flexor issue. “He’s got a nice bruise.”
“The way I throw, because of my hip, it hurt me,” Sánchez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“And I don’t want to force my arm to do something to stay in the game. It’s early, and they know what they can do and I’m going to stop right there and get ready for my next one. I didn’t want to injure my leg and my arm, too.”
Both the pitcher and manager said they thought he would be fine for his next start, which was against the Phillies again, in Monday’s series opener in Citizens Bank Park.
Sánchez was able to make the start, which was his fourth in a row against the Phillies, going back to his last two starts with the Atlanta Braves last season, and was sharp early, working around three hits and a walk for three scoreless on just 40 pitches.
A first-pitch fastball, letter-high to Odubel Herrera got lined out to right, however, as the Phillies tied things up on the two-run blast in the bottom of the fourth, 2-2, and Rhys Hoskins went down for a low, 3-2 curve in the sixth, and hit a one-out solo shot that went out to left field and put the Phillies ahead, 3-2.
Sánchez was lifted with two on and two out in the sixth, replaced on the mound by Wander Suero, who got the last out without further damage...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 83 P, 50 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Hoskins homered again in the eighth inning, taking Justin Miller deep, and the three home runs were enough for the Phillies, who took the first of three in CBP, 4-3.
“[Sánchez] was good,” Martinez told reporters after the loss.
“He made one bad mistake, but he was real good. When I took him out I could tell — when he starts throwing the ball up, I know he’s — that’s his time where he’s had enough, but he did well, did well.”
Though his stuff is far from overpowering at this point in his career, his manager liked the way that the right-hander attacked Phillies’ hitters with what he does have these days.
“He’s smart,” Martinez said. “Aníbal is very smart. He doesn’t give in.
“The biggest thing, he doesn’t give in and he’s always around the plate, so he has a game plan when he’s out there pitching and he sticks to that game plan.”
“Overall I felt good, I think everything was working good today,” Sánchez said in his own post-game Q&A with reporters.
He gave up seven hits total, but all the runs he allowed came on the home runs by Herrera and Hoskins.
“With Herrera, I think the ball just missed the location,” the 35-year-old righty explained.
“We tried to throw the ball up and in, and the ball just ran a little bit away, and he’s a great hitter and he put a really good swing on it, and with Hoskins, you know the situation, I think the 3-2 count and I just wanted to throw my best pitch against him, and again, he put a really good swing on that pitch. I think a little bit up from where I wanted to, but I think it was my best pitch, that’s the pitch that I want.”
This @rhyshoskins homer was his 25th since the start of last season that either tied the game or gave us the lead.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 9, 2019
That's what we like to call "clutch".
(Phillies x @budweiserusa) pic.twitter.com/h52a6PS5QP
Asked what positives he took from the outing, and the fact that two pitches he probably wanted back did all the damage, Sánchez said, essentially, that’s baseball.
“Everything can change on a bad pitch,” he said.
“I think they just got runner [on] when Herrera got the homer, tied the game at that point, and I just wanted to work a little carefully after that, just keep the score right there and wait for the team to get the run-support, but I think we have to give credit to the other side too.”