The 2013 season was a big year for Aníbal Sánchez and Max Scherzer.
Playing for the Tigers, both Sánchez and Scherzer anchored two spots in baseball’s best rotation. Scherzer won his first Cy Young award, leading the majors with 21 wins while striking out 240 batters and eclipsing 200 innings for the first time in his career. Sánchez, meanwhile, paced the AL with a 2.57 ERA and tied with career high with 2020 strikeouts in his first full season with Detroit.
The pair continued its dominance into the postseason. After the Tigers were forced to start ace Justin Verlander twice in their ALDS against the Oakland A’s, manager Jim Leyland lined up Sánchez and Scherzer to start Games 1 and 2, respectively, of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. Their stat lines were something to marvel upon:
Sánchez: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 12 K, 116 pitches, 66 strikes
Both pitchers carried no-hitters into the sixth inning. It was the only time in MLB history that two pitchers had done so in back-to-back playoff games. That is, until Sánchez and Scherzer put together these stat lines while playing in last year’s NLCS as teammates on the Nationals:
Sánchez: 7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 103 pitches, 67 strikes
Scherzer: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K, 101 pitches, 65 strikes
Sánchez started Game 1 only because their NLDS with the Los Angeles Dodgers went to five games. The Nationals turned to Stephen Strasburg for Game 5 after Scherzer went in Game 4. Patrick Corbin would’ve been the logical candidate to take the ball for the series opener, but he got four outs in the bullpen in Game 5.
This time, the duo one-upped itself by each taking no-hit bids into the seventh — Sánchez lasted until the eighth before he gave up that first hit. One year after Scherzer tossed his gem in Game 2, the feat accomplished by the two starters stands as one of the most historic in the Nationals’ World Series run.