What I do care about, though, is what he does on the mound. He has started 10 games this year and has just one quality start, and that start pushed the definition of quality to the vast extreme. He's way more likely to go less than 5 innings than he is to go 6, an innings eater he is not. But despite having one of the worst seasons for a starting pitcher in franchise history he is still being run out there every fifth day, and will be for the foreseeable future. You know something has gone decidedly wrong when your Royals comps are Sean O'Sullivan, Kyle Davies and Jose Lima.
Lowest ERA+ (min. 10 GS)
I wasn't sure what to expect out of Sanchez this year. I was hopeful he could match his 2010 numbers (127 ERA+) and optimistic he could duplicate 2009 (100 ERA+). I figured at worst he would be a slight upgrade over Jeff Francis (86 ERA+). Wrong, wrong and wrong. Now to be fair, my optimism was based on his ability to strike people out throughout his career but he is nowhere close to the 9.4 SO/9 he put up entering 2012. His velocity is down, his strikeouts are down (6.0 SO/9) and his walks are up, way up (7.8 BB/9). That just has all the signs of a guy pitching through an injury.
Yesterday 73 of his 101 pitches were fastballs with an average speed of 89 miles an hour. Now that percentage isn't unusual for him, and it's likely fine when he can hit 93/94 when he needs to, but yesterday he topped out at 91. On the rare occasions he found the strike zone the Twins had no problems making contact.
If he's hurt then put him on the DL and replace him with Vin Mazzaro or Jake Odorizzi. If he's not hurt then release him. You cannot convince me that Mazzaro or Odorizzi will pitch worse than a guy having a historically bad season. Mazzaro had a 2.70 ERA in his first 4 starts of the season but was exiled to the bullpen after a disastrous outing against the Cardinals, despite the fact that it was very similar to the outing Bruce Chen had just the week before, also against the Cardinals. He pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Sanchez yesterday, which makes you wonder how differently the game might have gone if Yost had pulled the dangerous lover after the 4th inning when KC was down just 2-0. But, whatever.
Mazzaro now. Or Odorizzi.