Sticking with Jonathan Sanchez
Slowly, Sanchez is beginning to gain believers. When Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff double in the third inning and stole third base, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy stationed his infielders in. On a ground ball, they were going home.
That’s quite a risk against the middle of the Phillies’ lineup – especially at such an early juncture in the game. But Bochy had a 2-1 lead and he was showing faith in Sanchez. These are the kinds of subtle decisions from a manager that help a pitcher win games. But first, that pitcher must gain his manager’s trust. Then he must reward that trust. In the process, he reinforces that trust.
Sanchez did all three. He struck out Chase Utley and got Jayson Werth to pop up. With two outs, the infielders played an exaggerated shift against Ryan Howard, and he dutifully hit into it. Rollins was stranded. The Phillies didn’t score in the inning. But perhaps Sanchez tallied a few points.