Poor, poor Mark Sanchez (OK, so he’s not poor. He’s filthy rich). Things were bad enough, coming off the worst season of his four-year career, dealing with competition from noodle-armed Tebow — and the circus that followed — and ultimately losing his job to rookie Greg McElroy. Then Sanchez saw his team sign veteran QB David Garrard, who hasn’t played since 2010.
Man, those back-to-back AFC Championship Games in his rookie and sophomore seasons feel like eons ago, don’t they? Friday felt like further proof that Sanchez will go down as the guy whose legacy is defined by a butt-fumble:
Yeah, it sucked to be Mark Sanchez on Friday. But it sucked even worse to be Jonathan Sanchez.
The Pittsburgh Pirates southpaw, who has a no-hitter on his résumé (back in 2009 with the Giants), had one of the worst outings imaginable Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sanchez’s line wasn’t the worst of the season — that would be Detroit’s Rick Porcello (9 ER, 2/3 inning) or Mr. Perfect Game, Houston’s Phil Humber (8 R, 1/3 inning) — but that’s only because Sanchez didn’t give himself the chance. Sanchez got himself ejected after a mere 17 pitches.
Before he was tossed, Sanchez authored one of the more futile lines in history, allowing two solo homers to lead off the game, a single, then hitting batter, all without recording an out. It was the hit batter — a fastball near the head of the Cards’ Allen Craig — that got Sanchez the hook (while bringing back memories of his beanball war with Chase Utley in the 2010 NLCS).
Here’s the pitch that got Sanchez ejected:
The last guy to have an outing that historically bad: Former Reds starter Phil Dumatrait, who allowed four earned runs and three homers in just 12 pitches without recording an out in a 2007 loss to Milwaukee.
If you want to find a guy who also hit a batter in the process, you’d have to go back even further, to 1991, when Tigers pitcher Bill Gullickson was chased from a loss to the Blue Jays after allowing two solo shots and hitting a batter in his first five pitches.
If there’s a bright side for Sanchez, it’s that Gullickson went on to win 20 games that season. So there’s hope for him yet. Although he’s 0-3 with an NL-worst 12.71 ERA, and guys are hitting .404 off him. So it’s tough to be optimistic.
But for one guy, it didn’t suck to be a Sanchez on Friday. In fact, just the opposite.
Anibal Sanchez, the Detroit Tigers hurler who threw a no-hitter as a rookie with the Marlins in 2006, had one of the best outings of his career and accomplished a feat rarer than a no-no: a 17-strikeout game. His final line: 8 shutout innings, five hits, 17 strikeouts and just one walk in a 10-0 win over the National League-leading Braves.
Anibal (3-1, 1.84) on his filthy evening . . .
Historically, Sanchez has been good for a stellar game or two a season. Aside from the no-hitter, in 2011 he had a one-hit shutout with 11 Ks against Pittsburgh. His second-to-last start last year was a three-hit shutout with 10 Ks. But 17 strikeouts? That’s downright historic.
In fact, we’ve seen only 48 17-strikeout games in baseball history — as opposed to 191 no-hitters — and we’d never seen one from a Tiger. Only Brandon Morrow, Johan Santana and Ben Sheets have done it in the past 10 years.
And then there’s this: Anibal Sanchez is making $8.8 million this year. Start or sit, Mark Sanchez will make $8.25 million. Even Johnathan Sanchez is making $1.375 mil.
Guess being a Sanchez, win, lose or draw paychecks, ain’t so bad.