Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez no-hit the Red Sox through six innings, but as his pitch count was run up so high, he could not complete the feat. The right-hander exited after tossing 116 pitches. Reliever Al Alburquerque took over for him in the bottom of the seventh, retiring the bottom of the Red Sox lineup in order, recording two strikeouts in the process.
Jose Veras will get the call in the eighth inning. Veras has made one appearance for the Tigers in the playoffs thus far, tossing 1.2 innings in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Athletics. He allowed two hits and struck out three. He will face Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.