Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez looks to revive his faltering career against the Mariners within the spacious confines of Safeco Park. Sanchez struggled through his worst season of his career in 2016, finishing with a 5.87 ERA, 5.06 FIP, 4.62 xFIP and a 4.39 SIERA across 35 appearances (26 appearances).
The aging veteran appears to be heading in the wrong direction as evidenced by his xFIP over the past four years: 2.91, 3.56, 4.03 and 4.62. His fastball velocity declined by over one mph last year and is at its lowest point since the 2013 campaign.
Sanchez lost the battle for the 5th spot in Detroit’s starting rotation to Matthew Boyd in spring training and has been throwing for the Mud Hens (Triple-A) ever since. In 15.2 Minor League innings, Sanchez posted a 4.60 ERA and 4.24 FIP, together with a 1.72 HR/9 rate.
In eleven relief appearances for the Tigers, a span covering 21.0 innings, Sanchez has posted a 9.00 ERA, 7.89 FIP, 5.29 xFIP and a 4.33 SIERA, together with a 3.86 BB/9 rate and a 3.86 HR/9 rate. Seattle compiled four runs (3 earned) on six hits in four innings against Sanchez on April 26 at Comerica Park.
Sanchez finds no support in a woefully inadequate Detroit bullpen that enters tonight’s gam with a 5.00 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 2017, including posting a 6.44 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 95.0 road innings and a 4.92 ERA and 1.50 WHIP at night.
From a technical standpoint, Detroit is a money-burning 5-16 in Sanchez’s last 21 starts, 3-10 in his last thirteen road starts and 1-4 in his last five outings against American League West foes. In contrast, the Mariners are a perfect 4-0 in Sam Gaviglio’s last four starts. 5-1 in game 1 of a series and 5-1 in the last six meetings in this series.
Gaviglio, a 27-year-old rookie, has been a pleasant surprise for the Mariners this season. The right-hander owns a 3.41 ERA across 34.1 innings of work, together with an excellent 53.4% ground ball rate. While I am backing Gaviglio tonight, it should be noted that his 4.29 SIERA is far more indicative of his future performance.
With Seattle standing at 15-5 at home against teams with subpar bullpens this season (blow 38%+ of their save opportunities), take the Mariners as Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Best Bet for Monday, June 19.
Oskeim Sports’ Free MLB Best Bet: Seattle Mariners (-136)