You’ll never believe it but, even in the playoffs, striking out batters is a great way for a pitcher to help his team win. Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers pitched really well Saturday night and Max Scherzer also pitched well Sunday night. Combined they struck out 25 batters in 13 innings.
Scherzer might have pitched better but Sanchez got a lot of attention for leaving the game without allowing a hit, a desirable outcome for a starting pitcher. The Tigers staff as a whole held the Red Sox to just one measly base hit while striking out 17 as a staff. That’s good!
Comparing the two starts, it’s a little odd that Sanchez allowed six base runners while Scherzer only let four reach safely. Six walks seems like a lot for a “dominant start”. In the minds of some, this diminishes his outing a little. Hey, if taking pride in a strange fun allergy is your thing, go nuts – tear down as many no-hitters or near no-hitters as you can. Nobody forces you to enjoy them, let your beige accountant flag fly.
The Tigers dominated the Red Sox batters both nights, but the Sox ability to work counts and draw walks gave them chances to score on Saturday, loading the bases in the sixth inning against the AL’s ERA leader. It was in those brief moments of hope for the Sox that we saw the true value of the strikeout – a pitcher’s ultimate equalizer.