Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is not a complete player, but his offensive skills more than make up for for his questionable defense and occasionally suspect effort. There’s a reason he was an all-star last year and rookie of the year runner-up the year before that. His bat is a beast, and the Yankees will happily accept the other stuff in exchange for his hitting. Except, in an injury-marred season, he’s currently hitting .188. That makes things the way he singlehandedly, leaden-footedly cost the Yankees a chance to win Monday’s game a lot harder to swallow.
New York fell 7-6 to the Rays, and you can hang a two-run swing on Sanchez (who also had an RBI single). In the first inning, Sanchez and pitcher Luis Severino got crossed up on what would go down as a two-base passed ball, as Jake Bauers noted Sanchez loping after the ball and scored all the way from second. That led to a not-so-friendly chat between Sanchez and Severino in the dugout:
[I]f I would have done a better job of being quicker getting that ball, we should have a chance to get him out at home,” Sanchez said. “That’s my fault.”
Flash-forward to the ninth, when the Yankees had drawn within one run and loaded the bases with two outs. Sanchez grounded to 2B Daniel Robertson, playing on the left side of the infield due to the shift, who flipped it to SS Willy Adames to try to get the force out. But Aaron Hicks beat the toss, and the Yankees should have tied it up—except Sanchez was not hustling out of the box, and Adames threw him out at first for the unconventional 4-6-3 putout.
“I should’ve run harder,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I could’ve done a better job, for sure.”
Per MLB.com, Sanchez time down the line was more than a full second slower than his fastest time this season. He admitted that he only started running hard once the runner was safe at second, where he assumed it’d be an easy force out. “This [is] one of those instances where you learn from it,” he said afterward.
Really awkward timing on this, if it’s even an accident:
The Yankees are now six full games behind the Red Sox in the East, their largest deficit since April. There’s time enough to make a run, but it’d be a lot more likely if Sanchez, who was expected to be a force smack dab in the heart of a potent lineup, can get his swing back to where it used to be. And maybe cut down on all the other stuff.
Update, 7/24, 4:15 p.m.: Sanchez has been placed on the disabled list after an MRI revealed a right groin strain, the same injury with which he missed four weeks earlier this season.