Sanchez brings newfound focus vs. Braves
Giants lefty hopes to continue run of solid starting pitching
SAN FRANCISCO -- Last season, Jonathan Sanchez etched his name in Giants' lore with the 13th no-hitter in franchise history.This year, he threw five shutout innings in the biggest game of the regular season to lead the Giants to their first postseason berth in seven years. On Sunday, the 27-year-old left-hander can further cement his legacy as he takes the mound in a deadlocked National League Division Series.
With the series tied at one game apiece, Sanchez (13-9, 3.07 ERA) will face Atlanta's Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83) in Game 3 of the NLDS at 1:30 p.m. PT at Turner Field and try to put the Giants in control of the series.Despite the added magnitude of the playoffs, Sanchez said he's taking it business as usual as he prepares for his postseason debut. "Just have to go out there and do my job," Sanchez said after the Giants' 5-4 11-inning loss to the Braves on Friday. "There's no added pressure; I just have to go out there and pitch and do my job, that's all." This season has been a culmination of sorts for Sanchez, who, in his first four seasons in the Majors, never seemed to be able to fully channel his potential into results. In his first two years, 2006 and 2007, Sanchez pitched out of the bullpen as he learned the ropes of the big leagues. In 2008, he was promoted to the starting rotation, but struggled with an ERA higher than five and had six starts in which he allowed six or more runs. Every time Sanchez seemed poised to break out after an exceptional outing, he soon after followed with a dud. Heck, before Sanchez no-hit the Padres on July 10, 2009, he had spent the previous two weeks in the bullpen.
- 2010 Regular Season
- Overall: 34 GS, 17-9, 2.84 ERA, 74 BB, 139 Ks
- Overall: 33 GS, 13-9, 3.07 ERA, 96 BB, 205 Ks
- Key stat: First in Majors with 75.2 ground ball percentage
- Key stat: 8-4, 2.27 ERA in past 12 starts
- 2010: N/A
Career: 8 GS, 1-3, 3.97
- 2010: N/A
Career: 5 GS, 1-2, 3.58 ERA
- At AT&T PARK
- 2010: N/A Career: N/A
- 2010: 17 GS, 8-4, 3.26 ERA Career: 47 GS, 17-15, 4.17 ERA
- Against this opponent
- 2010: 2 GS, 1-0, 1.20 ERA Career: 13 GS, 5-4, 3.17 ERA
- 2010: 2 GS, 0-1, 7.56 ERA Career: 15 GS, 1-3, 6.00 ERA
- Loves to face: Freddy Sanchez (3-for-21)
Hates to face: Aaron Rowand (8-for-21)
- Loves to face: Matt Diaz (1-for-8, 6 Ks)
Hates to face: Brian McCann (3-for-7)
- Game breakdown
- Why he'll win: With a propensity to induce grounders, Hudson's strength perfectly matches Giants' weakness
- Why he'll win: Confident coming off division-clinching win vs. Padres in regular-season finale
- Pitcher beware: Struggled at season's end, recording 5.32 ERA in September/October
- Pitcher beware: Up-and-down lefty has been known to let emotions get the best of him
- Bottom line: Savvy veteran
- Bottom line: Coming of age?
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.