Going up against Colorado in his third start after getting called up from Triple-A Rochester in late April, Aaron Sanchez gave up six hits, two walks, and seven runs, six earned, in just 4 1⁄3 innings pitched in the Rockies’ home, and the veteran right-hander struggled in his next three starts as well, giving up 21 hits, five walks, and nine runs in 14 IP, for a 5.79 ERA, a 6.40 FIP, and a .375/.426/.625 line against over that stretch.
The third of three, however, was actually the 29-year-old righty’s best this season, with Sanchez giving up two runs, seven hits, and two walks in a five-inning, 89-pitch outing against the Brewers on the road in Milwaukee’s American Family Field.
Sanchez said after the outing he’d made the most of three double plays in the first four innings, as he kept the home team off the board until the fifth, when he gave up both of those two runs he allowed in the start.
“I’ve always known my game is I’m one pitch away from getting out of stuff,” Sanchez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the game.
“Even when there’s traffic on the bases, I try to stay focused on what I’m trying to do.
“And obviously, having the ball on the ground today was a big part of what I was trying to accomplish.”
“He’s got a really good two-seamer,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters before Sanchez took the mound to face the Rockies in Nationals Park yesterday, “and over the last couple outings, he’s had trouble controlling that at times, so just controlling the strike zone. The bottom of the zone is where he needs to be throwing all his pitches. The curveball is really good, he’s got a good changeup, but for me the key is throwing his two-seamer for strikes, down in the zone, both in and out, so if he can do that, he competes, and even though he does go through rough times where he can’t find the zone, he battles, and he gets that ground ball when he needs it, or that strikeout, so we want him to go out there and like I said, find that strike zone early with his two-seamer and then work off of that.”
Sanchez fell behind early in his second start of the season against the Rockies, giving up back-to-back, one-out singles by Yonathan Daza and Charlie Blackmon, and a three-run home run by C.J. Cron in the opening frame of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 3-0.
It’s was 5-3 in the Nationals’ favor when Sanchez came out in the second and gave up a fourth run on a single by Randal Grichuk and an RBI double by José Iglesias, 5-4, but he limited the damage to one run.
Sanchez came out for the third with an 8-4 lead, and retired the Rockies in order in a 13-pitch frame, but he gave up back-to-back singles to start the top of the fourth, with both Brendan Rodgers and Randal Grichuk reaching base.
Rodgers took third on a fly to center field by José Iglesias, and scored on a sac fly to right by Elias Díaz, 8-5, and 8-6 on a two-out single to center field by Connor Joe, which ended the Nats’ starter’s outing...
Aaron Sanchez’s Line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 75 P, 51 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
“He started off a little bit — he threw a pretty good breaking ball to [C.J.] Cron, but he hit the home run, and then — you know, he didn’t throw the ball bad. You watch some of the hits, the ground balls, the balls off the end of the bat, broken bat, for me it just wasn’t his day, but I thought he threw the ball better, command-wise, this time, than he did his previous starts, and that’s good for me.
“I really believe now moving forward he’s got to mix in his changeups a little bit more,” the manager added.
“We talked about his curveball usage. We’re going to talk to him about that as well, and get him to do more of that throughout the game, but I thought his fastball command was way better today than it has been.”
An hour after the nightcap of the doubleheader the Nationals announced they’d designated Sanchez for assignment.