Aníbal Sánchez left Thursday afternoon’s game with left hamstring soreness after facing just six batters in 1 1⁄3 innings.
Heading into the start, Sánchez was in the midst of a five start losing streak over which he had a 5.55 ERA, 17 walks, 28 Ks, and a .262/.364/.466 line against in 24 1⁄3 innings.
Sánchez was winless overall on the season as well, at (0-6) after eight starts with a 5.27 ERA, 24 walks, 39 Ks, and a .265/.354/.471 line against in 41 IP.
Before the outing, Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez talked about the rough start to the season for Sánchez, who signed a 2-year/$19M free agent deal with Washington over the winter, and also the value that he brings in spite of his struggles.
“Anibal doesn’t change regardless of the day he pitches or any day in-between,” Martinez said.
“He’s a guy that loves energy, loves to have fun, communicates, talks. His record doesn’t indicate it, but he hasn’t pitched bad. The one thing — and we reiterate it with him, the balls are going to be in play a lot, so you have to be ready to field the balls. He’s had some unfortunate innings where it cost him a lot pitches, but then again he rebounds, comes back and he keeps us in the ballgame, and I expect that to be the case today. We’ve just got to play good defense behind him and let him go out there and do his thing. He’s smart and him and [catcher Kurt] Suzuki work really well together, so I expect him to go out there and keep us in the game.”
After a scoreless first inning this afternoon, Sánchez took the mound in the second with a 4-0 lead, and gave up a one-out single, and a walk in the next at bat, but he reacted oddly on the final pitch he threw to Brandon Nimmo fo ball four, and looked visibly frustrated on the mound as Martinez and the Nationals’ trainer came out for a visit and quickly decided to lift him from the game.
The Nationals provided the details on Sánchez during the game, and Martinez talked after the 6-4 win about what went wrong for the veteran right-hander on the mound.
“Right now he’s going down as a hamstring strain,” Martinez said. “He’s scheduled to get an MRI tomorrow. As of right now he’s going to end up on the IL because he’ll probably miss a start.”
“First he tried to walk it off thinking it was a cramp, but he said it pulled on him pretty good, and ... he said he’s dealt with it, he knows he’s dealt with it before and that he doesn’t think this one’s really bad, but the MRI will tell us more tomorrow.”
Sánchez, who dealt with hamstring issues in each of the past two seasons (2017-18) said he didn’t think it was too bad.
“Most of the time that I had problems with my hamstrings, it was a cramp or that kind of stuff,” he explained.
“Last year was the first time that I pulled my hammy, but that one, it was different, it was a move that I made to first and twisted something on my hamstring and it didn’t let me stop my body, it was my landing leg, so I couldn’t stop my body through to home plate, so that’s why I threw a few balls after that.”
“It’s not serious,” he added, “but let’s see what they say tomorrow. I can say I’m probably going to miss another start, but I don’t know. I just want wait till tomorrow.”
So who is going to take Sánchez’s place in the rotation? Erick Fedde took over on the hill against the Mets. Will he return to the rotation after a recent move to relief work?
“We’re going to keep our options open,” Martinez said. “We haven’t decided yet. Fedde has been pitching well, so we’ll give him a couple days and see where he’s at.”