Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DANA WAKIJI  |  Last updated 9/11/13
There were a lot of people who weren't sold on the Tigers re-signing Anibal Sanchez in the offseason. The critics thought that paying Sanchez 80 million over five years was too much. Those same people are probably rethinking that opinion. Sanchez, 29, won his career-best 14th game and career-best seventh straight decision with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night. Sanchez shut out the White Sox over 7 13 innings, allowing five hits while walking four and striking out 10. Sanchez lowered his American League-leading ERA to 2.50. He has 178 strikeouts in 165 23 innings and his WHIP is 1.15. Although he missed a couple of starts because of a right shoulder strain, Sanchez will no doubt be in the Cy Young conversation, along with teammate Max Scherzer, Chicago's Chris Sale, Texas' Yu Darvish and Seattle's FelixHernandez. "Anibal Sanchez is a guy that you do not want to face as a hitter," FOX Sports Detroit analyst Craig Monroe said on the post-game show. "He's one of those guys, he controls four pitches. Good fastball, that 95-96 mile-per-hourfastball that he can overpower you with. But he can also change speeds, good change-up, real good breaking ball. And he also works the ball in and out with a lot of movement on all of his pitches. "He's a nightmare for hitters, righties and lefties." In his last 11 starts, Sanchez is 7-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Given a little more run support, Sanchez could have 17 or 18 wins. Sanchez is a quiet presence in the clubhouse, always there early doing his workouts on days when he doesn't start. But beneath Sanchez's quiet exterior is a fierce competitor, which he had to be to match Jose Quintana, who shut the Tigers down for seven innings. "He was really good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told FOX Sports Detroit's John Keating. "The entire game he was sharp. I don't know if he was out of gas that last inning or not. He said he was fine, he got the first guy,struck the first guy out, gave up the base hit. But the walk was the thing that sent the red flag up. Fortunately the bullpen came in and did a great job." Although he couldn't find the strike zone in the first inning, Quintana got out of a bases-loaded jam and went on to pitch seven scoreless innings. The Tigers finally got their run when they strung some singles together against reliever Matt Lindstrom in the eighth. Omar Infante's single drove in Prince Fielder. When Jose Veras struck out Paul Konerko and Drew Smyly struck out Adam Dunn, no one was more animated than Sanchez in the dugout. "It made me feel good because that shows that they trust me," Veras told Keating. "Anibal Sanchez was doing unbelievable job. We gotta find a way to get it done. When you got starting pitching going that far, to pitch theway he pitched, you gotta give it everything you have. It was wonderful feeling to get that game done 1-0." Sanchez also proved he could get it done last year in the playoffs. He went 1-2 with a minuscule 1.77 ERA, no doubt a big reason why Tigers owner Mike Ilitch gave the OK to re-sign him. With the Tigers' win and the Cleveland Indians' loss, the Tigers are now 6 12 games ahead of the Indians and seven games ahead of the Kansas City Royals in the Central Division. If the Tigers do hang on to win the division and make the playoffs, they'll be looking to Sanchez to continue to pitch the way he has all season. EXTRA POINT: Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter has big plans for Thursday's day off. He's headed to Arkansas to watch his son, Money (Monshadrik) Hunter, play for Arkansas State. "I'm going to the Arkansas State-Troy game to watch my son probably put a hit on somebody," Hunter told Keating. "It's going to be a good day for me." Money Hunter is a freshman defensive back.
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