Anibal Sanchez pitched his third career shutout Thursday as the Marlins beat the Giants 1-0 to complete their first sweep in San Francisco since 1995.
With Buster Posey absent from the middle of the lineup, the Giants managed just five hits today and never put together much of a threat. Only in the first inning did they have multiple hitters reach base.
Posey’s replacement, Eli Whiteside, went 0-for-2 before being removed for a pinch-hitter.
Ryan Vogelsong was the hard-luck loser for San Francisco, dropping his first decision despite going a season-high eight innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.77 and demonstrated one more time why it’s going to be impossible to shift him to the bullpen once the injured Barry Zito is ready to return.
Sanchez went the distance for the second time this season. He took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a 4-1 win over the Rockies on April 22. He became the first Marlins starter to pitch a shutout in a 1-0 game since A.J. Burnett in 2005.
The Marlins are now 29-19. They’re even with the NL East-leading Phillies in the loss column, though they have two fewer wins. No other NL team has a better record.
The Giants fell to 27-22 with the loss. Even after the sweep, they remain two games up on the Rockies in the NL West.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.