103 pitches, 6 K’s, 4 BB’s, 9 IP, and 0 hits. That is the line for Anibal Sanchez tonight as he chokes the Diamondbacks out of Miami and the Marlins continue to play meaningful baseball in September. And on a night that they needed a win, they got so much more.
This night belongs to Anibal “Dirty” Sanchez. Or is it Anibal the Animal? He pitched like a beast tonight, like he was playing for blood. The best illustration of this was the last better he would face – Eric Byrnes.
It was the top of the 9th, the small but hearty crowd was all abuzz. The din growing louder and louder and the excitement and emotion of everyone at the game was thickening like the night’s humidity. Byrnes stepped in – 2 outs and only 1 more to go for Anibal and the Marlins to make some history on a Wednesday night in northern Dade county. Like a meteor, Anibal’s fastball roared towards homeplate sizzling the air along the way. A 95 MPH heater that found the back of Miguel Olivo’s glove while Byrnes twisted and contorted in vain to make contact.
This was Anibal’s night.
And to think, he was a relatively obscure rookie that impressed everyone with his poise in spring training. This would prove valuable since it was for this reason he was called up to make his major league debut against the Yankees. Hey, the Marlins had to play a double header and were in need of an emergency starter after all. All Anibal did back then was impress and hold the Yankees scoreless through his 5 inning debut.
Now, at 7-2, he has a no hitter under his belt in only his 12th career start. He has a good friend in Miguel Cabrera, a fellow Venezuelan who has helped him adjust while young Anibal was away from his beloved wife. But Sanchez has made a lot more friends tonight. Well, at least in South Florida anyway.
But no nickname…
The 4th no no in Marlins history; the others being by Al Leiter (1996), Kevin Brown (1997) and AJ Burnett (2001). The Marlins are tied with the most no hitters in baseball since 1993 – with the Yankees.
But how many rookies have been able to achieve such a feat? That is what makes this young pitcher so special, as he ends the night with cream all over his face, courtesy of one Dontrelle Willis.
And it is just another reason why this 2006 Marlin team is so special. Congratulations, Anibal – you made your fans and your countrymen proud tonight.
Oh yeah, and thank you Red Sox for making that trade back in November.
I watched the whole game online (congrats MLB on your Mosaic feature). I called people and told them “something special” was going on with the Marlins game. I wouldn’t even tell my girlfriend what was going on – I wrote it on my hand and showed her. Hey, I wasn’t going to jinx Anibal. Not this night.
Only the 19th rookie since 1900 to throw a no hitter. And the first Venezuelan to do it.