Phillies

Sixto Sanchez can make major impact on NL playoffs in October debut

Phillies

Throughout October, we will take a look at how some former Phillies are performing in baseball's postseason.

The two-month 2020 season played out poorly for the Phillies but these next few months could be just as painful.

The loss of J.T. Realmuto looms, and if the Phillies are unable to bring him back in free agency, that loss will be amplified by every strong start Sixto Sanchez makes. 

Sanchez, traded by the Phillies to Miami with Jorge Alfaro for Realmuto in February in 2019, makes his playoff debut this afternoon at Wrigley Field with the Marlins a win away from eliminating the Cubs.

Sanchez's playoff debut comes before Realmuto's, before Aaron Nola's. It comes before the playoff debut of literally every player the Phillies drafted and signed from 2012 through 2020. The last Phillies draftee to make the playoffs with any team was Ken Giles, picked in 2011. He won a ring with the 2017 Astros despite a terrible playoff performance.

In seven starts this season, the 22-year-old Sanchez went 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He scuffled his last two times out, allowing nine runs in seven innings as the Marlins lost to the Nationals and Braves.

Sanchez lived up to the hype, though. He showed a triple-digit fastball with a plus breaking ball and plus changeup. He struck out 33 and walked 11 in 39 innings. He was taken deep just three times. Sanchez has avoided barrels his entire professional career, giving up just 12 home runs in 374⅓ innings in the minors and majors.

 

The Cubs have the worst offense of any 2020 playoff team. Their .220 batting average ranked 27th in the majors. Their .387 slugging percentage ranked 24th. They were 20th in runs per game.

The Marlins beat the Cubs, 5-1, in Game 1. The Cubs had just four hits — a double and three singles. They've dealt with season-long slumps from Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo.

The Marlins are the only team in any of the four major North American pro sports to never lose a playoff series. They've made the playoffs twice and won the World Series twice, both times as the NL wild-card team in 1997 and 2003.