Sanches quietly delivering
Unsung no more.
Marlins reliever Brian Sanches has been a major part of a heavily-used bullpen, and he’s quietly approaching a team record.
After tossing two shutout innings on Thursday night against the Astros, Sanches ran his scoreless streak at Land Shark Stadium to 24 1/3 straight innings. That’s the third longest stretch in club history. The only strings longer are by former Florida starters. Dontrelle Willis logged 31 straight without a run in 2003, and A.J. Burnett had a run of 26 innings in 2005.
Sanches, 31, is 2-0 with that 0.00 ERA at home. Overall, his numbers are impressive — 3-0 record with a 1.01 ERA in 30 games. In 35 2/3 innings, he has struck out 34, while walking 15.
A versatile right-hander, Sanches opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, where he had four saves. He had his contract selected on May 18, and he’s been used in setup situations as well as long relief.
The Marlins are firmly in the playoff race, and the role of the bullpen will be huge down the stretch.
“Obviously, the bullpen is a really strong part of the team,” Sanches said. “That’s what we’re looking for, to make sure guys are ready and are taking precautions, preparing their bodies for the work that is coming up.”
Through the years, the Marlins have had a knack for finding relievers with some big league experience who are looking to resurrect their careers. A year ago, Joe Nelson and Doug Waechter fit the mold. They found success with Florida before moving to other teams.
Sanches and Kiko Calero are two of the bargains this year. And Dan Meyer was claimed off waivers, providing a lefty who has stepped up after having a change of scenery.
“The organization does a very good job. They had Joe Nelson and Doug Waechter last year,” Sanches said. “They had guys like me who have been up and down in the big leagues, and they come in and produce. I think it is a reflection of their scouting, and the character of the guys.
“You also have to give credit to the staff up here, because obviously, they’re doing something to change either the mental approach or they make a physical tweak that helps them produce. That’s what I was looking for, an opportunity. What I needed was a chance. They actually approached me early in the free agent process. It helps when you’re in a situation where they want you.”
– Joe Frisaro