Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis
Cristopher Sanchez tossed a gem
Cristopher Sánchez entered Friday night making a compelling case for an All-Star nod next month in Arlington. He bolstered his candidacy with a masterful performance, delivering a complete game shutout to propel the Phillies to a 2-0 victory over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The 27-year-old left-hander punctuated his night by striking out Josh Bell for the final out, letting out a yell and pounding his chest. It was the first complete game shutout of his career, achieved with 101 pitches, 73 of them strikes.

“It was incredible,” Sánchez said through an interpreter. “It’s an amazing feeling, and I thank [Garrett Stubbs] for his work behind the plate.”

Sánchez’s stellar outing dropped his ERA at Citizens Bank Park this year to 1.35, making him the first Phillies pitcher since 1912 – when earned runs became an official stat in the National League – to maintain an ERA that low at home through nine starts without allowing a home run.

“I’m so proud of this kid,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He has come so far. He is a dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball, and when I saw him a couple of years ago, I didn’t think he’d be able to do it. But he’s worked hard, trusted his coaches in the minor leagues and here. It’s phenomenal, it really is.”

Sánchez induced 16 swings and misses, with his velocity up nearly 1.5 mph from his season average.

“Unbelievable pitcher, and also a really good dude,” catcher Garrett Stubbs said. “Very easy to root for. When we saw him get his contract, it was a no-brainer considering the work he puts into being the best he can be.”

The outing put a stamp on an unforgettable and historic month for Sanchez. In addition to signing a four-year contract extension last week, he finishes June with a 1.64 ERA, following a strong May where he posted a 2.03 ERA. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the last Phillies hurler to throw 30 innings in consecutive months with an ERA of 2.03 or lower without surrendering a home run was Grover Alexander in July and August of 1916.


“People talk about his sinker and his changeup all the time, and for good reason,” Stubbs added. “Those are his best pitches, but tonight his slider was right there too. When hitters must think about three good pitches, and the way he can locate, it’s tough.”

Whit Merrifield opened the fifth inning with a single and later scored on a Bryson Stott fielder’s choice. The insurance run came in the eighth when Johan Rojas legged a single to centerfield into a double, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Stott sacrifice fly to left.

“I think sometimes, in the near future anyway, we may need to create some situations,” Thomson said, referring to the absence of power hitters Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber for at least the next two weeks. “If there are times [Rojas] can move a runner by bunting, steal a base, get an infield hit, create something, that’s all we need.”

The Phillies placed Harper and Schwarber on the injured list prior to Friday’s game. Harper with a left hamstring strain and Schwarber with a left groin strain. Thomson is optimistic that both could return prior to the All-Star break.

In the meantime, solid pitching and manufacturing runs could be the recipe to maintain a stranglehold on the NL East.

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Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis