Jonathan Sanchez is a remarkable character. He can be maddening with his wildness, walks, HBPs and the like. How often have you thought "typical lefty space cadet" when watching him? He seems to have his own Sanchez Channel that he's tuned to, and often appears clueless about game situations and events. His latest verbal assault on the front-running Padres was such an odd outburst because it was the last thing any of us would expect from him. Last year he threw a no-hitter after he was threatened with demotion! We all know he has real-deal swing-through stuff, and we've seen him mow people down with an efficiency that even Tim Lincecum can't match. He comes up with these remarkable performances that get us all scratching our heads and thinking "did I really say we should trade this guy?" It's a wild, wild ride with the former Ohio Dominican Panther, isn't it?
Here's something to chew on after tonight's brilliant outing by the mercurial southpaw: his average Game Score is 55. Last year it was 52. The year before it was 49. He's been a starter since 2008 when he logged 158 IP with an 88 ERA+. The next year he improved to 103 and this year he's posting a 118 ERA+ and will likely reach a career high in innings (he has 145-1/3 now, he only needs 18 to match last year). This guy is getting better every year. He's a real gem, and we tend to forget that. By the way, Barry Zito has an average Game Score of 54 for 2010, and Matt Cain 57. Tim Lincecum, after last year's extraordinary 64, is tied with our Stopper for Tonight at 55. (Madison Bumgarner brings up the rear with 53.)***
Two of the lads who really needed to contribute--Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez--both had fine games. Buster Posey was god-like in his ho-hum god-like way. What a joy to watch this guy! I hope we keep him around forever. It was a huge, huge, huge win. A necessary win. Someone had to step up and be Da Man for this ballclub and tonight Sanchez and Posey delivered. And another thing: as annoying as the 9th inning was, the hit by Sweeney changed the Phils' win expectancy from 0.5% to 1.8%.
Finally, I have to give a shout-out to my hecklers and fellow bloggers--I had nothing in me after last night's deflating loss and yet you guys stirred up some lively post-game chatter. T'anks, mates.
***I should not discuss averages without also discussing their standard deviations. I really shouldn't. But the bright fellow over at Triples Alley already did that, so check it out. He nicely debunks the notion that Jonathan Sanchez is inconsistent, which is of course inconsistent with our view of him. Don't you just love baseball?