DETROIT — Anibal Sanchez did his job for the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night, holding the San Francisco Giants to two runs over seven innings.
The Giants won, 2-0, as Ryan Vogelsong and two relievers held the Tigers to five hits, all singles.
“I had a bad [second] inning when they scored. But I was happy with how I pitched after that,” Sanchez said. “It’s tough right now for us.”
Sanchez left Comerica Park knowing he was unlikely to pitch again this season and could be leaving the Tigers. The 28-year-old will be a free agent and is in good position to dictate his future. The Giants defeated the Tigers, 4-3, in 10 innings to complete a sweep.
Sanchez has made 95 starts and thrown 587 innings over the last three seasons, establishing a pattern of reliability. And while his 30-34 record is not impressive, he has a 3.70 earned run average and a 1.29 WHIP. Sanchez also has averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” he said. “Once the season is over I will talk about that with everybody — my agent and my family.”
Sanchez will be part of a diverse group of starters to hit the free agent market. Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson, and Hiroki Kuroda are best of the bunch. Kyle Lohse is likely to profit from a strong season for the Cardinals. The same will be true of Jake Peavy once the White Sox decline his $22 million option.
Sanchez, who was signed by the Red Sox in 2001 and traded to the Marlins in 2005, could be a good fit in Boston. With Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz at the top of their rotation, the Red Sox could use a starter to bridge the gap to Felix Doubront and John Lackey.
Doubront threw 161 innings this season, far more than ever before, and presents an injury risk, while Lackey is coming off Tommy John surgery.
The Sox have a variety of needs beyond another starter but do need to strengthen their rotation. Signing Sanchez will likely require a multiyear deal, but likely at less of a cost than Greinke, Jackson or Lohse.
Tigers’ Avila out
The Tigers did not have catcher Alex Avila in the lineup Sunday night for Game 4 because of a deep bruise on his right arm, the result of a foul tip on Saturday that struck between his elbow and his wrist. Gerald Laird was the catcher.
“It’s on the bone and it’s pretty sore,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “I’m not sure about the pinch hitting. I’d probably run him in there to catch if I had to. But just as far as I know, the trainer told me just a little bit ago it’s probably best not to go with him.
“Alex is very tough, without question, one of the toughest I’ve ever managed.’’ If it’s hurting, it’s hurting.”
They can relate
One of the reasons the Red Sox hired John Farrell as manager was his relationship with general manager Ben Cherington.
Leyland has a strong relationship with his GM, Dave Dombrowski. The same is true of Giants manager Bruce Bochy and his GM, Brian Sabean.
“We developed a friendship, we’ve developed a baseball respect. He later on asked me to manage the Marlins. We were fortunate enough to win a World Series together,” Leyland said.
“I think we have a great relationship. I don’t think there’s any question about that. We both have one thing in common: we want to win. I don’t think there’s anybody better at putting a team together than Dave Dombrowski, and hopefully he feels that I’m the guy to manage it. I don’t think we’ve had an argument since 2007, so that’s pretty good.”
Bochy feels the same way about Sabean.
“We spend a lot of time talking baseball. You have to communicate, and we see each other so much in the office,” Bochy said. “He’s got an office close to mine. But we’re good friends, too, so we spend a lot of time off the field talking about the team, the game. It’s something special for me because I have somebody I can talk to about the game, and he always asks about players. He’ll ask your opinion.”
No ace to play
Tigers ace Justin Verlander met with the media before the game not knowing whether there would be a Game 5 for him to start. “I’m going to do everything I can on the bench, cheer our guys on, see what I can do, keep a positive attitude and do whatever I can to help us win,” he said. “But hopefully I have to flip that switch again and realize that I’m going to be pitching tomorrow.” . . . Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford was asked about closer Brian Wilson, who has stayed with the team while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Is the heavily bearded Wilson as eccentric as he seems? “He’s exactly like that, yeah. He’s fun to be around. He just keeps us all going, keeps us excited,” Crawford said . . . Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw won the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best represents baseball on and off the field.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.