Sanchez helps make more history

Sanchez helps make more history

MIAMI -- Historical accomplishments have become routine for Anibal Sanchez.

In just half a season, the Marlins rookie has already logged his share of memorable moments. It all started with a win in his big-league debut, tossing 5 2/3 shutout innings at Yankee Stadium. He's also gone head-to-head and been on the winning end against Houston's Roger Clemens.

And, oh by the way, the right-hander happened to toss a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 6, in his 13th big-league start.

For his season finale on Wednesday night, Sanchez put his name in the history books again. By coming up on the winning end of a 7-2 decision against the Reds at Dolphin Stadium, Sanchez is the fourth Marlins rookie this year to notch his 10th win.

Now, Sanchez (10-3), Josh Johnson (12-7), Scott Olsen (12-9) and Ricky Nolasco (11-10) are the first quartet of big league rookies to reach double-digits in victories.

Before this season, just two teams since the modern era of the game, since 1901, had three rookies post 10 or more wins. The most recent was the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers: Ben Wade (11-9), Billy Loes (13-8) and Joe Black (15-4).

The 1934 Philadelphia A's featured three in Johnny Marcum (14-11), Bill Dietrich (11-12) and Joe Cascarella (12-15).

Of the four, Sanchez had the most difficult path. Since he opened the season at Double-A Carolina, he didn't join the team until June 25 against the Yankees.

Now 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA, he closes out his rookie season with 114 1/3 innings pitched, including 17 starts and 18 total games.

Consider this: five of his wins came in September, where he also suffered a tough loss, dropping a 2-1 decision to John Smoltz at Atlanta on Sept. 16.

"I thought I was going to get my 10 wins this year," said Sanchez, a Venezuelan native. "I counted down that I needed three wins in my last four starts. Then I said I'd try to make it."

Surprisingly, Sanchez has performed better at the big-league level than he did at Double-A, where he was 3-6 with a 3.15 ERA, compiling 85 2/3 innings.

Those who saw Sanchez pitch in the Minor Leagues felt he was throwing well, but what he wasn't getting were consistent calls from the home plate umpires.

So much of Sanchez's game is changing speeds and nibbling on the corners.

"Here, the umpire has got one zone," Sanchez said. "In the Minor Leagues, the umpires sometimes don't call all the pitches. In the Minor Leagues, it's different.

"Sometimes in the Minor Leagues, I'd make a pitch that wouldn't get called. Then the next pitch, the guy would hit a double. Here, that's not happening. The umpire has one zone. Here, if you throw a strike, the umpire is going to call the strike."

The Marlins acquired Sanchez from the Red Sox last Thanksgiving night as part of the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston.

The other key player involved in that deal is Hanley Ramirez.

Ramirez, a frontrunner to be the National League Rookie of the Year, had a big night to help Sanchez reach his 10th win.

Ramirez opened the first inning with a leadoff homer, and in the eighth inning, the rookie shortstop connected on an inside-the-park homer.

Sanchez welcomed the run support as he was able to do his part in making more baseball history.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.