Somehow, some way, the Detroit Tigers managed to squeak by the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night in a game they had looked destined to lose early on.
With their offense non-existent again, the Tigers pounded out three runs in the ninth to surprise Toronto closer Casey Janssen and win the game 5-4. That news, though, may still have paled in comparison to what happened earlier.
Pitcher Anibal Sanchez left the game during the fifth inning in distress. Later, it was revealed he had departed with a side strain, and was day to day. Nobody yet knows the severity of the injury, or if it will cause Sanchez to miss his next start and force Detroit to make a corresponding move on the mound.
If anything, last night's game showed why there's no such thing as an excess of good pitching in baseball. Often times, hurlers are only one twinge away from exiting a game, depending on their bullpen to carry the load and hoping their offense can scratch across enough runs to win a game. With this in mind, it's just another reason the recent acquisition of David Price was a huge variable.
Even if Sanchez has to skip a few starts, it's nice to know that Detroit now has an elite innings eater like Price ready to go. With Drew Smyly, the Tigers didn't know what they had. Smyly would have been just as capable to get knocked around in five innings pitched as he would be to go into the seventh with a solid game.
With Detroit's goals this season, that's a risk that became a bit too dangerous to take. From blisters to strains and arm problems in between, there's always some type of problem that can befall even the best, most savvy pitcher of a pitching staff, much like Friday night showed.
Now, even if Detroit has to call up a young spot starter such as Robbie Ray or Drew VerHagen, the organization will at least have the security of knowing that Max Scherzer, Price, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello are scheduled to pitch around him in some order. That gives any team a chance of winning on any given day, even if a rookie has to be utilized. It's the reason Dave Dombrowski stockpiles pitching during the draft and deadline.
For now, the Tigers will hope the news on Sanchez isn't too bad. In the meantime, it has to be a nice feeling to know they're somewhat covered even if the pitcher has to miss time after Friday's unfortunate injury scare.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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