Anibal Sanchez asks for an appeal during Saturday night's game, a 1-0 Tigers victory. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Boston – He nearly threw one and he nearly watched one.
But for Justin Verlander, being a spectator for the Tigers’ near no-hitter on Saturday night was far more nerve-wracking than flirting with a no-hitter in the clinching game of the Division Series in Oakland.
“I think I was made to be an everyday player,” Verlander said in the Tigers’ clubhouse, following their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox in which the Sox didn’t have a hit until Daniel Nava’s one-out single off Joaquin Benoit in the ninth.
In his own close call, Verlander didn’t allow a hit until a single by Yoenis Cespedes with two outs in the seventh on Thursday night.
“Sitting and watching, I’m just a ball of nerves,” said Verlander. “But I don’t know what would have happened had we got it. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. We’re just trying to win games.
“I don’t think it would have been proper to go out there and celebrate. It’s business, so you don’t want to go out there like you just clinched.”
Verlander could relate to every emotion felt along the way by the Tigers’ pitchers, though – but especially to Anibal Sanchez’s fist-pump when he struck out Stephen Drew to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded.
“It wasn’t a moment of triumph, it’s just that emotions come out,” he said. “At that point, he knew he was done, so it’s raw emotion at that point.”
It’s also raw emotion to squirm while watching a near no-hitter instead of pitching one.
In the last two games, he’s done both.