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.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.