Right-hander Aníbal Sánchez is on a run. The veteran starter has won his last two decisions since returning from a hamstring injury. In three starts since May 29, Sánchez has allowed two runs in 17 1/3 innings on nine hits with three walks and 15 strikeouts.
On Monday night in the 12-1 win over the White Sox in Chicago, Sánchez struck out only one batter, but induced 11 grounds balls and nine fly balls to improve to 2-6. He faced 22 batters and used only 69 pitches. His ERA has dropped from 6.00 in late April to 5.27 on May 10 to 3.92 after last night’s outing. The only runs he has allowed in his last three starts are a pair of solo homers.
Last week against the White Sox at Nationals Park, he struck out the side in the fifth with three different pitches: changeup, cutter and splitter. His pitch of choice that is on right now is his cutter, which has induced called third strikes and plenty of weak grounders.
Sánchez is demonstrating the pitcher general manager Mike Rizzo had hoped he was going to be able to get after a great 2018 season. With Sánchez and right-hander Erick Fedde clicking, the Nats have the formidable five starters they covet, which includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.
* Right-hander Wil Crowe and left-hander Ben Braymer are having outstanding seasons for Double-A Harrsburg. Crowe is 5-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 12 starts but has lost four of his last five decisions. He has 63 strikeouts and only 19 walks. Braymer is 3-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 11 starts. He has 56 strikeouts and 18 walks. His WHIP is 1.05.