Following a great week for the New York Yankees where they went 5-1 against Oakland and Toronto, they entered Tuesday with Gerrit Cole on the mound against Kansas City. Following another dominant outing from Cole where he went 7 IP with 3 H, 2 R, and 3 BB, the Yankees dropped the first game of the series 6-5.
The team is 8-7 this year in games where Cole starts. That’s just unacceptable. The offense has struggled recently outside of Gary Sanchez and whenever Cole starts, Sanchez sits because Kyle Higashioaka is Cole’s personal catcher. When the Yankees put their ace out there, they are always expecting a win. That’s why he’s being paid the money he is. Yet, the Yankees also need to make sure to never waste any of Cole’s starts and also put the best lineup out there to complement his start. As of right now, that includes putting Sanchez out there too every time.
Since May 22, Sanchez has been the team’s best hitter while Higashioaka is struggling to get on base and has been the team’s worst hitter. Since May 22, Sanchez is batting .338 with 6 home runs and 14 RBIs, and a 197 wRC+.
In the same stretch when Higgy plays, he’s hitting .167 with 1 home run and 1 RBI with a 21 wRC+. Higashioaka has no business starting when Cole starts. While Cole’s numbers have been good, the record in his starts shows the Yankees need to change something. Why not start with switching catchers?
Having a near-automatic out at the bottom of the lineup when Cole is starting cannot happen right now given how much the team has struggled offensively all year. It continued to show last night when the Yankees stranded a small village on the basepaths. The offensive issues have plagued the team all year so the fact that our best hitter is not out there when our best pitcher is out there especially right now is mind-boggling.
Sanchez has been going through one of the best stretches of his career and it’s a shame he has to sit a game just because Cole is pitching. Sanchez only caught one inning from Cole in Spring Training and this was the case in 2020, but the Yankees cannot afford to bench their hottest bat right now. Whether this is Cole not wanting Sanchez to catch, or Aaron Boone’s decision, something needs to change next start.
Earlier in the year, Boone did say Cole will not exclusively pitch to Higashioaka, but that has not held true yet.
Gerrit Cole won't pitch strictly to Kyle Higashioka this season, but the duo will get a "fair amount" of time together, Aaron Boone said.
When you’re putting your best guy on the mound every 5 days, you expect that game to win 17 out of 20 times. Why not put your best players out there to complement your best pitcher? Cole is one of the best pitchers in the world. He should be able to pitch to anyone effectively and having Sanchez in that lineup is much more of a force to reckon with right now than Higgy. The numbers and production speak for themselves. The Yankees are 8-7 in Cole’s starts, it should have never been this bad and the Yankees should look to change some things off starting with the catcher to make Cole’s starts more effective.
What are your thoughts? Should Higashioaka continue being Cole’s personal catcher or should they switch it up? Leave a reply or tweet me @SashaLueck and let me know!