Jonathan Sanchez’s career-long control problems continued yesterday, as he walked six and uncorked three wild pitches in six innings, but the Giants left-hander also struck out six and held the Brewers to one run on five hits for his seventh victory.
Sanchez improved to 7-6 with a 3.15 ERA on the year and also became the first pitcher since Darren Dreifort in 1999 to win a game in which he had six or more walks and three or more wild pitches.
Prior to Sanchez only 12 pitchers had successfully walked that tightrope during the past 50 seasons:
Jonathan Sanchez 2010
Darren Dreifort 1999
Juan Guzman 1994
Bobby Witt 1986
Rick Sutcliffe 1986
Joe Niekro 1985
Mike Moore 1983
Don Robinson 1982
Rick Sawyer 1976
Bart Johnson 1971
Jim Palmer 1969
Tony Cloninger 1966
Sam McDowell 1964
Sam McDowell is the only left-hander on that list, which means Sanchez is the first southpaw with six-plus walks and three-plus wild pitches in a win since way back in 1964.
Despite a .240 opponents’ batting average and 461 strikeouts in 452 career innings as a starter Sanchez is just 25-34 with a 4.54 ERA thanks largely to 227 walks. In other words, he definitely belongs on that list.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.