The New York Yankees have seen plenty of star players fail to play up to what the back of their baseball card says they are capable of playing like, but one of the few that hasn’t been hampered with disappointing stats of late is catcher Gary Sanchez, who has overcome his sluggish start.
Sanchez has become one of the more polarizing players on this team over the last few years, as his ability to change the game with one swing of the bat often gets overlooked due to the fact he has some defensive lapses and will never hit for a very high average.
However, over the last few weeks, the sliding Yankees tried to shake things up by moving all the way to the No. 3 hole in the order.
With a .339 average and six home runs in his last 20 games coming into Sunday’s contest, he deserves this promotion.
After Oakland Athletics starter Sean Manaea spent the first five innings completely mowing down the Yankees without even breaking a sweat on Sunday, it was Sanchez who recorded a two-run double on an 0-2 pitch that put the Yankees in front.
They would hold on to this 2-1 advantage thanks to a walk-off triple play.
The Yankees need to keep Gary Sanchez in the No. 3 spot.
While Aaron Boone has tinkered with all sorts of combinations in order to wake this offense up, one alignment that has had some success is Aaron Judge returning to the No. 2 hole in the order, Sanchez at No. 3, and Giancarlo Stanton behind them in the cleanup role at No. 4.
Judge remains in the spot that he is comfortable with, Sanchez has a new approach at the plate with two mashers sandwiching him in the lineup, and the amount of pop in front of him has given Stanton the ability to swing for the fences as much as he pleases. It might be a temporary fix, but it’s working.
Sanchez’s problems at the plate in years have stemmed from an all-or-nothing approach. While he is never going to win any batting titles, he looks like a different player, perhaps even an All-Star level player, over the last few weeks. He is working the count, using the whole field, and coming through in the clutch.
The Yankees will need to address their lack of left-handed power at some point, but Sanchez reverting to the offensive juggernaut we all know he can be when he is in a groove might be what takes the Yankees back into the playoff consideration. Boone likes to tinker, but he needs to leave this lineup permutation alone and let them rock out.