Pirates' Sanchez takes pitching slump to historic level

Pirates' starter Jonathan Sanchez had one heck of a bad outing against the Cardinals on Friday night

ST. LOUIS — Remember when Jonathan Sanchez threw that no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants back in 2009?

The Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher for Friday night’s game against the Cardinals may have hit rock bottom after getting tossed just 17 pitches into the bottom of the first inning in St. Louis.

It all started when Sanchez gave up back-to-back home runs to Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran, the first two batters of the game. Matt Holliday then followed with a single.

The fourth man up, Allen Craig, stepped to the plate and was promptly hit with a 92-mph, four-seam fastball in his left shoulder. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons didn’t even waste time with a warning and immediately ejected Sanchez.

"It surprised me," Sanchez said following the game. "In the first inning, I just wanted to get the ball inside and the ball started going up and it hit him.
"It was obvious I didn’t want to hit him. I just missed my spot."

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle came out to argue only to be eventually tossed as well.

"Timmons thought he was throwing at his head and we disagreed," Hurdle said. "I have every belief he’s trying to pitch inside hard. He missed his spots over the plate so he’s trying to push a hitter back and he clips him. Tim didn’t see it that way."

Sanchez’s brief stint on the mound marked the 18th consecutive start without a win and the 27th start in a row which he pitched six innings or less.

Think that’s bad? It gets worse.

After the dreadful performance in St. Louis, the left-hander ranks last in the NL in ERA (12.71), innings pitched per start (2.83), opponents’ OPS (1.307) and WHIP (2.65). To put that into context, if his WHIP held up throughout a full season, it would be the worst in baseball history. Mike Morrison currently holds that honor at 2.51 — accomplished back in 1887 with the Cleveland Spiders.

Thankfully for Sanchez and the Buccos it’s only April and there is plenty of time to turn it around.

After all, things couldn’t possibly get any worse. Literally.

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