Doing the little things can make a huge difference when the big guys are sidelined, which is what the Yankees are experiencing now with Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez out for a while. But they also have to be smart things, and Gleyber Torres followed his legs rather than his brain in killing a potential tying rally during the Yankees’ 10-5 loss to the Royals in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader.
In the seventh inning, Torres was shaping up to be a hero when he smacked a line-drive double off the right-centerfield wall, driving in Didi Gregorius from first base to trim the Yankees’ deficit to 6-5. But Torres got a bit overaggressive after crossing second and showed bad judgment by trying to go to third on the throw to the plate. Catcher Salvador Perez easily cut him down for the first out.
With the Yankees spending most of the afternoon digging out from a 6-0 hole, having Torres flush a great chance like that was especially frustrating. It got worse when Greg Bird launched a fly ball to the warning track in leftfield and Neil Walker and Austin Romine followed with back-to-back singles. Both of them wound up stranded when pinch hitter Miguel Andujar struck out.
“He put himself in a good position because he could see the play,” Aaron Boone said. “And when he saw the [throw home], he took off, which was a mistake, obviously. And obviously in that situation there, with no outs and us kind of coming back in that spot, that definitely hurt and definitely was a mistake. I like the fact that he’s in position to make a read, but it wasn’t the right read.”
Afterward, Torres said the manager had yet to speak with him, but he expected a conversation about the play at some point. “I think it was a bad decision at that moment,” Torres said.
In his defense, Torres is a 21-year-old rookie, so this is part of the growing pains. He denied trying to push things to make up for the Yankees’ shorthanded lineup, which featured a considerably weaker bottom half for Saturday’s first game.
Torres batted cleanup for only the second time this season and was followed by Bird, Walker, Romine, Tyler Wade and Shane Robinson. Hardly the powerful lineup the Yankees are accustomed to using on a nightly basis.
“We are a really good team,” Torres said. “We know Judge is a big part of the team, and Gary too. But in general, all the guys play pretty well. We just try to be focused and try to do the job. Judge and Gary got a couple of weeks off and we’re waiting for those guys for sure. But now we’ve got an opportunity to help the team, to try to play well.”
They just have to remember to use their heads, too.