Whether the Yankees begin postseason play on Tuesday or Thursday of next week, manager Joe Girardi left little doubt that 24-year-old Gary Sanchez will be playing in catcher’s gear.
“This is my catcher,” Girardi told the YES Network before New York’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
Sanchez’s performance behind the plate this season has been rather mediocre. Despite having a caught stealing percentage of 38 (MLB average is 27-percent) in 103 games, he leads the majors with 16 passed balls, and his most recent gaffe came in the fifth inning of the Yankees’ 9-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
But Girardi is inclined to pair Sanchez with starting pitcher Luis Severino, who is expected to be on the bump in the AL wild-card game.
“Catchers are going to have bad days. [Gary] got the crap beat out of him yesterday,” Girardi told the New York Daily News. “Everyone wants to focus on the two balls that maybe got by him, but what about the 12 or 14 balls that he did block? He got hit in the neck [by a pitch that bounced], he got hit in the shoulder [by a 95-mph fastball].
“I’ve been asked the question do you catch [Austin] Romine with Severino on Tuesday? Just by chance, take a look at the ERAs with the catcher and what this kid has done with Severino. This is my catcher. I am happy with the progress that he’s made.”
In 22 starts (183.2 innings), Severino’s ERA happens to be 2.86 with Sanchez as his batterymate, while his ERA with Romine is 3.29 in nine starts (54.2 innings).