Pirates starter Jonathan Sanchez’s outing didn’t last long. Cardinals hitters Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back solo home runs, and Matt Holliday followed up with a single on a line drive to center. Sanchez, who posted an 8.07 ERA in 15 starts last year, entered the night with an 11.12 ERA in his first three starts. Perhaps frustrated with his seemingly endless struggling, Sanchez appeared to intentionally throw a fastball at Allen Craig’s head.
Home plate umpire Tim Timmons immediately ejected Sanchez from the game. Manager Clint Hurdle came out to protest the decision, ostensibly because Sanchez did not first receive a warning, and was ejected himself after shouting a few lascivious words.
Jeanmar Gomez came in to relieve Sanchez and put a halt to the Cardinal offense.
Click here for a .gif of the Sanchez pitch and ejection.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.
McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).
McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.