Pirates' Sanchez shows fiery side in Dodgers outing
LOS ANGELES — It's not often an at-bat by a pitcher is a statement moment, especially when it ends with a strikeout. But a simple, three-pitch whiff by Pirates left-hander Jonathan Sanchez spoke to the way he approaches the game.
The Pirates trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers, 1-0, in the sixth inning late Friday night. There was one out and nobody on when Sanchez stepped in against righty Zack Greinke, a former Cy Young winner and one of the plums of last winter's free-agent market.
Greinke didn't try to overpower Sanchez with fastballs down the middle. It was curveball, curveball, changeup, and down went Sanchez.
“That's some respect,” Sanchez said. “He threw me that changeup, and I was like, ‘Oh, come on.' ”
Perhaps Greinke wasn't really worried about Sanchez jacking one out of the park. Even so, Sanchez reacted as if he believed he could do it.
“He came back (to the dugout) talking to himself,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was disappointed he didn't make something happen. I like the fact that his fire is lit.”
“I know this about him from the short peek that we've had at him,” Hurdle said. “There's a very fierce competitor inside him. He's very quiet, very soft spoken, but he takes everything serious. He even takes his at-bats serious.”
The Pirates went on to lose, 3-0. Although Sanchez gave up all three runs, he wasn't the culprit. Blame a lifeless offense, which mustered only two singles and a walk against Greinke and three relievers.
“It's been the same thing (in each of) the first four games of the season,” Hurdle said.
Good pitching, good defense, lousy hitting.
The Pirates haven't won at Dodger Stadium since Sept. 15, 2011.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Andre Ethier's homer. On a 2-2 count, Sanchez tried to heave a 91-mph four-seamer up in the zone past Ethier. The ball landed about a dozen rows up in the right-field bleachers.
Sanchez (0-1) did a decent job in his Pirates debut. He worked five-plus innings, allowed three runs on six hits and struck out four.
“I felt pretty good,” Sanchez said in a voice barely above a whisper. “I was aggressive, tried to throw strikes and make the hitters swing the bat.”
The Dodgers had runners on the corners with two outs in the fifth, and Sanchez got Carl Crawford to chase a slider out of the zone for an inning-ending strikeout.
“His fastball was live,” Hurdle said. “There was good finish to it. We wanted to establish his fastball early, get in a good rhythm, then go to the other stuff.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Cole to make rehab start at Indianapolis on Monday
- Mile-high edge? Hurdle knows Coors Field
- Saturday’s scouting report: Pirates at Rockies
- Rockies’ 7-run 7th-inning dooms Pirates in 8-1 loss
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Rockies
- Pirates’ Melancon has been consistent since moving into closer’s role
- Pirates notebook: Recovering Cole exceeds expectations in simulated game
- Statistically speaking: Rockies’ bullpen suffering meltdowns
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade