Gary Sanchez has not been good at the plate for the Yankees. We all know that. Your eyes are not lying and no amount of Well-Look-At-His-Barrels arguments will make me feel better about his lack of offense. The past is in the past and right now, it isn’t doing anything for me.
I also won’t downplay the fact that he and Zack Britton’s passed ball – and honestly I place the onus on both these guys – was the reason two extra runs crossed the plate in game three when it was a two-run game. (Then there was Ottavino who kicked that inning off but I’ll let someone else handle that topic.) Houston was anemic that game and, at any point, the Yankees could have done what they do best – be savages. The whole psychology of the game changes for these guys when you’re down by one or two runs as opposed to down by 4.
I also won’t condescend you by saying that Gary Sanchez has had a better career than Austin Romine and thus, he has earned a spot in the lineup. (Which is very true by the way and I do believe that. Some of you don’t want to hear that though and I don’t blame you.) Benching Gary for Ro is a dirty thought that has crossed my mind a few times because, well, I’m only human. Much like the Cameron Maybins and Mike Tauchmans of the world, his approach at the plate has improved this year. The results were there and it’s only natural to think the grass is greener over on the bench.
In 2019, Romine’s .261 Expected Batting AVG is the highest it’s been since 2017 (.262). The big difference here is he hit .281 this year while in 2017 he hit a paltry .217. Romine also has the highest slugging % (.439) that he has ever had in his career. To put that into perspective on where he stands around the league, the average slugging % in 2019 was .435. Stick Romine in there and, at best, you have an average hitter. At worst, he doesn’t sniff a ball.
I still stand with Gary Sanchez. The reason for this is simple. While the Houston Astros have dazzled the baseball world with the likes of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, Yankee pitchers have a 2.29 postseason ERA. Behind them are the Rays, (2.82) Nationals (2.90), Astros (3.38), and Cardinals (3.42)
I think sometimes we forget that while the pitchers are on the mound, these are their results alone. That isn’t the case. There is a guy behind the dish receiving the ball and relaying information. For every game – whether he has struck out, lined out or gone 0 – 5 with two k’s – Gary has walked these guys through every battle.
When Sevy was in a jam in Minnesota in Game 3 of the ALDS, Gary Sanchez was there. When Paxton was teetering on the brink of destruction before Boonie pulled him out, there was Gary too. Things could have been much worse. Game 2 of the ALCS was very winnable and he was right there pulling for Chad Green, Otto, Zack Britton, Chappie, CC, and Happ. Had our bats come through, that night’s story looks very different.
The Astros have a prolific offense and if the next games are anything like the last two, the Yankees need to keep them at bay as much as possible. Basically that means, slumping or not, Gary Sanchez has to be behind the plate. Why disrupt that? Especially if Romine struggles. If that happens, not only is there another easy out at the plate, but you also need your staff to work out with a new play caller.
HOUSTON NOT SO SCARY? MAYBE?!
As a team, they’re hitting:
They have a total of 10 home runs and 23 RBI. 4 of those home runs are from Altuve and 6 of those RBI’s are from him as well. Every other batter with a home run only hit one, while the guy closest to him in RBIs is Yuli Gurriel with 5. One guy has been carrying that team. That’s a recipe for disaster in most cases.
Maybe I’m just a homer, but Gary deserves some credit for keeping these animals at bay. The Astros are a power house. Yankee pitching has more than done their job. It’s our bats that need to wake up.