Sanchez susceptible to long ball early in season

After Saturday's loss, Tigers righty has given up more homers in 2015 than in '14

Sanchez susceptible to long ball early in season

DETROIT -- It took just three starts to surpass a mark from last season for Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez, but it's not a good one.

Sanchez allowed two home runs in Saturday's 12-3 loss to the White Sox. Coupled with the three home runs allowed in his previous start at Pittsburgh, Sanchez has given up more home runs this season (five), than he did all of last season (four).

Sanchez also allowed multiple home runs in back-to-back games for the first time in the past two years.

"I don't know. I'm not going to pitch and not try to allow homers," Sanchez said. "I just try to execute a pitch and help the team win. I'm not going out there trying to give up homers. I didn't last year. I just try to keep working hard this year. I don't know what's going on right now, but I need to figure it out."

Sanchez set down six straight batters early on, but things began to unravel for him in the third inning. A walk to Chicago's Adam Eaton was followed a Melky Cabrera RBI double and a Jose Abreu single. Then Adam LaRoche pulled an outside fastball to right field for a three-run homer.

Sanchez didn't make it out of the fourth inning. He allowed back-to-back doubles and a walk to open the frame. After a strikeout, Cabrera singled home one run and Abreu brought them all in with a grand slam. Too often, Sanchez was missing high with his pitches. Only 23 of 40 fastballs and cutters went for strikes, according to BrooksBaseball.net's Pitch f/x tool.

"The ball's up again," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Same thing in Pittsburgh [in his last start]. He has the ability to pitch up at times, but there's that fine line between pitching above the batter's bat and pitching at the batter's bat. If it's a tick higher, he probably gets the popups like he did earlier in the game."

Sanchez's final line was nine earned runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings. Even when he made some good pitches or got ahead in the count, the White Sox battled out. Cabrera had a base hit on a ball nearly in the dirt, and he moved to 14-for-27 (.519) lifetime against Sanchez.

"It's just one of those things where, when he made his pitch, they were making good swings, whether they were fouling it off or putting it in play," Tigers catcher James McCann said. "Then they didn't miss any mistakes. It's not that he pitched worse. He was up against a tough lineup that did a heck of a job."

Sanchez says he feels fine physically, but he knows he needs to fix this new problem.

"Bad games happen. Today is one of those," Sanchez said. "I'd rather it happen early than late. But they took advantage early of bad pitches I threw today.

"But I'm healthy, I'll come back tomorrow and figure out what's going on, figure out what happened, figure out if it was a problem with my mechanics, location."

Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.