1. Kyle Higashioka is Gerrit Cole’s ‘Personal Catcher’
Three Gerrit Cole starts into the season, and Kyle Higashioka has caught him twice.
The first time, it was Gary Sanchez’s first day off of the year. He needed a break! The second time, the Bombers were coming off three straight games in Tampa, and the final 10-inning contest was the final straw for Boone, who realized his catcher needed another rest. Of course it was!
The Yankees are being very smart about this, telling the public only what they need to, and their luck will run out if the playoffs end up on this team’s schedule. But for now, you can read the tea leaves and see that Cole and Higashioka will clearly be paired up as often as possible, and team brass will make all the excuses necessary to keep the pairing alive.
Looking at the schedule, there are plenty of four-days-straight clusters culminating in a Cole start. You can bank on Higashioka staying lithe and limber for all of those games, especially any against the Blue Jays, who he beats like a drum. He’s our Grichuk. It rules.
Now, the flip side is, in the season’s first cluster of games, Sanchez has … well, he’s been the Yankees’ best hitter. You could make the easy argument that if Giancarlo Stanton also needs rest, Sanchez should DH on a few of Cole’s starts, too.
Until October, though, the Yankees can keep their plan installed without telling the public anything. For ALDS Game 1, though, they’ll have to spill the beans — but won’t be able to if Sanchez keeps wrecking the baseball.