Dodgers: What the Dodger offense can expect from Anibal Sanchez
The Nationals had a change of heart after Max Scherzer pitched in relief on Friday and now the Dodgers will face Anibal Sanchez.
Tonight the Dodgers will battle the Nationals as they try to take a 2-1 series lead and push the Nationals to the brink of elimination. The Dodgers were planning on seeing Max Scherzer, even after his one inning relief appearance on Friday, however the Nationals have decided to start Anibal Sanchez in game three of the series.
Patrick Corbin could see work out of the Nationals’ bullpen after Sanchez. But for now the focus of the Dodger offense is on Anibal Sanchez who pitched well against the Dodgers back on July 26th. Ironically, Hyun-Jin Ryu also started on that day so it is a rematch of their regular season matchup back in July.
Sanchez pitched well against the Dodgers that day, pitching seven innings while allowing just three hits and one earned run. After allowing a first inning run, Sanchez settled in and retired 20 straight Dodgers to close out his start. Tonight the Dodger offense will be looking to get back on track after striking out 17 times in game two.
The Dodgers also faced Anibal in game two of last year’s NLDS as Sanchez was with the Atlanta Braves. Sanchez went 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. Two of those hits were home runs which were hit by former Dodgers, Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal.
Anibal Sanchez is not a flamethrower like Scherzer and Strasburg but he is a crafty veteran who knows how to get big league batters out. He features a sinker (91 MPH), four-seam fastball (90 MPH), changeup (82 MPH), slider (85 MPH), curve (77 MPH), and a cutter (88 MPH). Like Ryu, Anibal Sanchez will look to keep hitters off balance with his full arsenal of pitches.
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The three pitches that Sanchez uses most are his four seamer (27.5%), changeup (29.3%), and cutter (25.9%). As the Dodgers saw with Stephen Strasburg in game two, Sanchez could choose to use his curveball more if he has good command of the pitch. Otherwise, Anibal has a very good changeup which could be his go-to weapon against LA’s left-handed heavy lineup.
Joc Pederson has two of the Dodgers’ three home runs against Sanchez which he recorded in just eleven at-bats. Max Muncy has the other home run against Anibal Sanchez of current Dodgers. Russell Martin who is going to start with Ryu on the mound, has gone 3-11 against Sanchez with one double. Back in July’s meeting, Martin started and went 0-4.
Another Dodger who has hit Sanchez well is David Freese who is 5-16 with a pair of doubles against Anibal. Cody Belllinger who is looking for his first hit of this postseason, is 3-11 career against Sanchez with three singles. Corey Seager is 0-3 lifetime while A.J. Pollock is 1-6 with one single.
Now that the Nationals will have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg lined up for games four and if necessary, game five, the Dodgers are facing a must win game tonight. Going down 2-1 and having to beat both Scherzer and Strasburg would be a tough ask for a struggling offense. With a win tonight, the Dodgers would only need to win one of the next two games and could even close out the series in DC.