Anibal Sanchez or bust
The Tigers look to a midseason acquisition to get them back into the World Series
Thanks to Pablo Sandoval, the San Francisco Giants took a 1-0 lead in the 2012 World Series. Do the Detroit Tigers need to shake things up to even things up? Our experts discuss that, and Thursday's pitching matchup, in Triple Play.
1. The Giants are going to use Hector Sanchez at DH. Smart move?
Eric Karabell (@karabellespn), ESPN Insider: The ghost that used to be an occasionally productive Aubrey Huff has nothing left, so I wouldn't have turned to him. In interleague road games Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval were the general DH culprits, so it wouldn't surprise me to see either of them take that role in Game 4 (or 5) with Joaquin Arias getting a start at third base for Sandoval, or Sanchez a start at catcher in place of Posey. Defense is a clear differentiator in this series; why stop now?
Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl), SweetSpot: You'd think the easy answer would be to start Huff, because if he doesn't start DH games against a right-hander, what's he here for? Unfortunately, Anibal Sanchez owns him (0-for-12 with a walk). Ryan Theriot is the one Giant who's homered against Sanchez, so I guess he notionally represents the best offensive option they have, but I like the idea of spotting Arias at third and putting Sandoval in the DH slot so you don't have to worry about swapping the Panda out for D. It will be interesting to see how Hector Sanchez does on Saturday and if he stays in that role on Sunday.
2. Was Anibal Sanchez over Max Scherzer the right choice for Detroit?
Karabell: While Sanchez isn't the strikeout monster Scherzer is, he thrived in September (2.43 ERA), has pitched well against current relevant Giants (Sandoval/Posey are 2-for-14 off him) and, let's face it, the Tigers need both games anyway since there's (rightly) no Justin Verlander until Game 5. Plus, if there's a Game 7, there's no guarantee Scherzer, who had shoulder woes in September, can bounce back that quickly for 100 pitches. Better to have Sanchez ready.
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Glanville: Sure. Sanchez is a good option, and you could still bring back Verlander on three days' rest to be the stopper facing Game 4 elimination. Regardless, you need strong starts by Sanchez and Scherzer to win this series.
Kahrl: Definitely. Sanchez has a good amount of experience against the Giants, most of it positive: In five spins against them as a Marlin, he threw two complete-game shutouts among four quality starts. Add in that he's been brilliant down the stretch, and he's the guy who can get the Tigers back into this thing.
3. Will this series return to San Francisco?
Karabell: Yes. No playoff team had a bigger split in home/road record than the Tigers, so it's reasonable to expect better performance this weekend. Detroit hitters posted a .793 OPS at home, .722 OPS on the road. (Of course, the Giants hit better on the road, too, but why quibble?) The Tigers take the Sanchez and Verlander games before succumbing next Wednesday by the bay.
Glanville: Yes. The Tigers will take two out of three to make it happen.
Kahrl: Yes. The Tigers will pull off a pair of wins in Detroit's frost to get the Series back to San Francisco and a Game 6 loss to the Giants in front of their fans.