Pirates' Sanchez rocked in loss to Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — As good as the Pirates' pitching staff has looked at times this season, there is one disturbing trend. The rotation has produced only two quality starts, which ranks next-to-last in the National League.
A quality start is when a pitcher goes at least six innings and allows three or fewer runs. Those outings are invaluable because they keep the team in the game and prevent bullpen burnout.
There was nothing quality about Jonathan Sanchez's start Wednesday in a 10-2 loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The left-hander lasted only 3 1⁄3 innings and yielded nine runs and eight hits. Sanchez (0-2) walked two batters and hit another with a pitch.
“I didn't make quality pitches,” Sanchez said. “We tried the slider, but it wasn't playing. I was missing with my fastball on the corners. I just got hit. I've got to forget this and move forward.”
Perhaps, but to where? Sanchez made the rotation out of spring training in large part because Jeff Karstens went down with a sore shoulder. After putting up a 12.96 ERA in two starts, Sanchez might end up in the minors or released when either Karstens or Francisco Liriano (broken arm) is ready to rejoin the team in May.
Arizona went into the game with a .121 batting average against left-handers, second lowest in the NL. The worst mark belongs to the Pirates (.082), who got five hits in 6 2⁄3 innings off Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley (2-0).
The Diamondbacks scored three runs apiece in the first and second innings. Sanchez got ahead 0-2 on four of the first eight batters he faced but three of them reached base, produced runs and drove up his pitch count.
“The stuff wasn't sharp, which was the first red flag,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The second one was his inability to command the fastball in, which allowed their hitters to get very comfortable at the plate.”
In the first inning, A.J. Pollock doubled after falling behind 0-2. Sanchez had Pollock picked off between second and third but threw the ball away. Pollock scored.
“I didn't set my feet,” Sanchez said. “I wanted to get it there fast, but I threw it away. It happens.”
Later in the inning, Alfredo Marte trailed 0-2, but Sanchez then missed with three straight sliders. Marte lined a sinker into center field for an RBI double to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.
Josh Wilson was behind 0-2 when leading off the second inning. The at-bat wound up lasting 10 pitches, with Wilson drawing a walk. He scored on Pollock's three-run homer.
Sanchez retired the Diamondbacks in order in the third, then went off a cliff in the fourth.
Pollock hit a solo shot to left for his first career multi-homer game. With one out, after Paul Goldschmidt walked and Miguel Montero singled, right-hander Chris Leroux relieved Sanchez.
Marte walked on five pitches, Cliff Pennington walked on four. Josh Wilson (Mt. Lebanon) walked on four pitches, scoring Montero. Of Leroux's first 15 pitches, 14 were balls.
“He wasn't repeating his delivery,” Hurdle said. “There's always that conversation, is it mechanics or thoughts? He showed some improvement his last couple of innings.”
When Leroux's third offering to Miley was called a strike, the crowd of 17,769 at Chase Field erupted in a loud mock cheer. Miley eventually grounded out and drove in the Diamondbacks' final run.
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.
- Georgia prosecutor Yates tapped for No. 2 post in Justice Department
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Pittsburgh police doubling up on duty after potential threats
- Steelers defensive game changer: Fourth-down stop thwarts Chiefs
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- Steelers notebook: Gay respects ‘anything’ referees call
- Old-school booksellers learn to survive, thrive in digital age
- Heyward, swarming defense get best of Chiefs in Steelers’ win
- Vigil honors 6 homeless who died in Pittsburgh in 2014
- Police: NYC cop killer invited people to watch shooting