Tigers’ Sanchez falters after 100-pitch mark
Detroit — The day the President leaves the White House, he pens a note of advice to his successor and leaves it on his desk in the Oval Office.
If Jim Leyland had done that for Brad Ausmus, the message probably might have been this: Watch Anibal Sanchez when he gets to the 100-pitch mark.
That’s the reputation for Sanchez, at least during his Tigers tenure. When he gets to 100 pitches, he goes from good to bad.
In Tuesday’s 8-2 victory over the Pirates, Sanchez had retired 10 straight in the sixth inning when David Freese reached on an infield single. That put Sanchez over 100 pitches.
The next batter, Starling Marte, hit a home run.
Then, Francisco Cervelli walked.
And Sanchez’s day was over.
“Pitchers, in general, begin to tire around 100 pitches,” Ausmus said. “Especially in the early going of the season.”
Said Sanchez: “A hundred pitches, it’s a lot of pitches.”
The numbers suggest that:
■In 2015, opponents hit .357 from the 101st pitch on.
■In 2014, Ausmus' first year, opponents hit .323 from the 101st pitch on.
■In 2013, Leyland's last year, opponents hit .211 from the 101st pitch on.
■In 2012, split between the Marlins and Tigers, opponents hit .313 from the 101st pitch on.
Farmer gets job done
As solid as the bullpen has been, there are wild cards.
Buck Farmer is one of those wild cards.
He pitched the seventh inning with the Tigers leading 7-2, and walked the first hitter on four pitches and fell behind the next 2-0.
But he regrouped and threw five straight strikes for a strikeout and an inning-ending double play.
“He’s got great stuff,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. “This was his home opener, too. He’s a little excited, amped up, his first time starting the season with the team. So he wanted to impress, he wanted to do well. So he probably overdid it a little bit, but he was able to settle down.”
Ausmus was impressed — and grateful.
Farmer’s quick turnaround allowed Mark Lowe a day off.
“That’s a situation right there where you don’t want to use a guy like Lowe,” Ausmus said. “But if something goes south in Farmer’s inning, you might have to.”
Field your position
For the second time this season, a Tigers pitcher caught a pop-up.
Saltalamacchia was closest to this one, but had no clue where it was.
“I’m still trying to find it,” Saltalamacchia said of the pop-up caught by Sanchez in the fifth. “I heard the bat break so I didn’t think it was gonna be that high. I look up and I couldn’t find it, and I saw a small golf ball way up in the air, but I wasn’t sure that was it.
“Thankfully, Anibal stayed with it and helped me out.”
Around the horn
Justin Upton’s home run in the first was the 17th of his career that traveled 450 feet or more. The only player with more since 2009 is Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton with 29, according to ESPN research.
... Heather Park, Comerica Park’s new in-game host, was hit by an errant throw home by Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison in the second. She was not hurt.
... Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez were presented with their Silver Sluggers before Tuesday’s game.
... Saltalamacchia threw out Andrew McCutchen trying to steal, improving to 2-for-2 this season.
Tigers at Pirates
First pitch: 7:05 p.m Wednesday, PNC Park, Pittsburgh
RHP Shane Greene (0-0, 0.00), Tigers: Greene gets his first start of the season. He hasn’t pitched since Opening Day, when he recorded his first save.
LHP Francisco Liriano (1-0, 2.45), Pirates: The veteran and ace of the staff has 13 strikeouts his first 11 innings.