DETROIT -- Clint Barmes admits having been spoiled by all the seasons he spent in Colorado making his throws from shortstop to three-time Gold Glove-winning first baseman Todd Helton.
"With Helton I knew if I had to rush a throw, all I had to do was throw it hard at his feet. If the ball was close to him, he'd get it," said Barmes, who is finding the same security in Gaby Sanchez.
Garrett Jones, the Bucs' other frequent first baseman, can pick it himself. In particular, Jones made two terrific digs of throws in the dirt by third baseman Pedro Alvarez on difficult plays during a 1-0 victory over the Cubs last Wednesday.
But Sanchez has stood out during this road trip by repeatedly scooping up low throws from shortstop. Barmes owes his error-free trip to Sanchez's quick hands.
"He definitely has great hands," Barmes said. "He's saved me a ton of times this season. It's so important to have someone so solid at the position. He makes you relax, and gives you confidence when you have to make a play in a hurry."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.