The futile at-bats are mounting for Gary Sanchez. With every October that passes, the numbers get a little more unsightly, and after the Yankees’ 4-1 loss to the Astros in Game 3 of the ALCS Tuesday night, Aaron Boone was presented with a question that would once have been thought a little ridiculous.
With Sanchez hitting .095 (2-for-21) for the 2019 postseason, is it time to sit him and go with Austin Romine?
“No,” Boone said definitively, taking the stand-by-your-man approach that has followed Sanchez since his rough 2018 season. “I’m seeing Gary miss some pitches ... I felt like he got another good one to hit today and put it on the net again.he’s got to take advantage of. Especially when you’re facing a team like this with pitching like they have, when you do get a ball that you can handle, you’ve got to make sure it gets in play with authority and not on the net.”
Maybe, but there’s no doubt that Tuesday was an especially frustrating night for Sanchez. He went 0-for-4, with two swinging strike threes, and allowed a blockable wild pitch in the seventh — a Zack Britton sinker in the dirt that allowed Jose Altuve to score for a 3-0 Astros lead.
After the game,Boone applauded Sanchez’s defense as “great,” and said it was a tough pitch to handle. Sanchez had a slightly harsher take.
“Definitely a tough one there,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “The whole season, I’ve been able to block those consistently. Unfortunately, tonight I was unable to.”
In all, Sanchez’s overall postseason batting average — now a big enough sample size at 92 at-bats — is .174.
Sanchez said he hasn’t lost his confidence. He’s just searching for the key that will get him out of this massive funk.
“Every at-bat, I’m battling,” he said. “I’m trying to make adjustments. I’m fighting ... n’t gotten the results I wanted but I’ve been working hard, trying to get back on track. We’ll keep working.We’ll keep working and hopefully, I’ll get back on track.”
And the truth is,Sanchez’s struggles wouldn’t loom quite so large if he were the only Yankee with a silent bat. Didi Gregorius is hitting .083 in the postseason and was batting sixth. Brett Gardner, hitting third, is batting .154. The Yankees are down Giancarlo Stanton, who capped off an injury-ravaged season with an injury-shortened postseason. He’s out with a quad injury and Boone said that, were it not the playoffs, Stanton would be on the injured list.
Stanton needs to be on the ALCS roster to qualify for the World Series roster.
It’s frustrating, too, Gardner said, that starterGerrit Cole looked downright human. He allowed nine baserunners, only the fourth time this season where he’s allowed at least that many. The Yankees drew five walks against Cole, but were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. With two outs and two on in the fifth, Gregorius’ fly ball died on the rightfield warning track.
Cole was “on the ropes a couple times and he was about to get out of it,” Gardner said. “It was a tough night for us.”
Boone concurred, though he took a slightly more optimistic approach: “It’s obviously a little frustrating we weren’t able to break through with him. But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance ... . And anytime you’re facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings.He made big pitches when he had to.”
And the Yankees made big outs when they shouldn’t have.
Gary Sanchez is off to a miserable start in the first six games of his 2019 postseason:
Home runs 0
Batting avg. .095