In one week from today, the Yankees will take on the Oakland A’s in the American League Wild Card Game. A number of variables remain unclear for the Bombers, such as which pitcher will start or where the game will take place. One thing that has been made abundantly clear by the team, however, is that Gary Sanchez will be behind the plate.
While this move has drawn scrutiny from fans and observers alike, Sanchez answered by having one of his best games of 2018 last night against the Rays. He went 2-4 with a single, a home run, and a walk for good measure. This was his second four-RBI game of the season, with the other coming on April 11th against the Red Sox.
After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone talked about what he saw in Sanchez’s at-bats.
“Yeah it was,” Boone responded when asked if it was nice to see Sanchez click at the plate. “Again, even the first at-bat where I think he fouled out, I kind of made a comment like, it looked more like his swing. He was in the zone. And then he was able to get some results. It just seemed like there was a little more comfort up there, just trust your ability, trust your plan, and it was nice to see.”
Sanchez, 25, is having a downright awful season on both sides of the ball. He’s hit .184/.285/.397 with 17 home runs over 362 plate appearances. His 84 wRC+ sits far below his career norm. Last night looked far more like the Sanchez of old, however, not the automatic out he’s been in 2018.
Boone and the Yankees emphasize that they trust Sanchez’s ability, and that’s why he’s getting the Wild Card start. Few catchers — nay, batters — in baseball possess his talent. He tapped into it against the Rays, now it’s time to do it again when facing Oakland.