CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 19: Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 19, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Player of the Game: None, no one made it past 0.100 WPA
Goat of the Game: Hanley Ramirez (-0.172 WPA)
Play of the Game: Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the fourth inning (0.129 WPA)
Anibal Sanchez had an acceptable outing for the Miami Marlins, though his control was not where it usually is. Unfortunately for the Fish, neither was the team's offense. The Fish could only muster three hits, though the team had numerous hard-hit balls as well. But when the offense is unable to score any runs, your team is going to be hard-pressed to win, and unfortunately this afternoon's game was just like that. Jeanmar Gomez and company held the Fish back, and the team will look to win the series tomorrow with a victory rather than go for the sweep.Offense Sputtered
The Marlins looked fairly helpless against Jeanmar Gomez, with a number of hitters putting weak contact on his pitches and others missing entirely. Gomez has averaged almost five strikeouts per nine innings, but he managed four in 6 1/3 innings today. He also did his usual bit of inducing whiffs, getting eight swings and misses from the Marlins out of 105 pitches.
Surprisingly, despite the weak contact, the Marlins did not many balls on the ground against Gomez, only hitting eight grounders on 17 balls in play. The team hit a number of line drives that just found their way into gloves, including all but one of the balls Jose Reyes on his way to an 0-for-4 night. On the day, the Fish recorded 10 grounders out of 20 balls in play, and that was enough weak contact for the Indians to convert all but three into outs.
The team had opportunities, as it started with a runner on and no one out to open both the sixth and the seventh innings. But following those opportunities were immediate back-breaking plays. Omar Infante reached on a hit-by-pitch, but was quickly erased by Hanley Ramirez's double play grounder. Giancarlo Stanton worked a six-pitch walk, only to leave the inning just two batters later on a Gaby Sanchez double play ball. Combined, those two plays ate about 17 percent of the Marlins' chances of winning. The team was even able to get a runner to third early on in the game, only to see Ramirez hit a well-struck fly ball to end the inning and miss out on an opportunity with a Leverage Index (LI) of 2.0. Even though the offense sputtered, it had its chances, and could not deliver.
Sanchez Similar To Usual
Sanchez was close to his usual self today. He struck out only four in seven innings and gave up a home run, but he was able to pitch out of jams in part due to his ground ball rate today. Sanchez forced thirteen ground balls on the day and that constituted 65 percent of balls in play. Those grounders did occasionally punch through for base hits, but not too many non-Asdrubal Cabrera hits were well-struck enough to be concerning. The only slightly odd thing was the relative drop in control, as Sanchez threw balls versus called strikes at a little more than a two to one ratio. This is not entirely disturbing, especially in the context of a decent number of swings and misses (10 whiffs in 106 pitches), so the Marlins should not be too disappointed and indeed should be happy regarding Sanchez's performance.