Gary Sanchez's latest flurry of errors might cause the Yankees to reconsider their Wild Card Game plans
Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino weren't on the same page on Wednesday
Overreacting to any given contest is a fool's errand. But Severino and Sanchez's issues were so dramatic in nature that it causes one to wonder if the Yankees should reconsider the pairing.
Heck, the two couldn't even agree on the root of the problem, per Marc Carig of The Athletic. Sanchez said the disruption had to do with changing signs once runners reached base as a means of preventing sign-stealing; Severino, conversely, blamed it on getting accustomed to a different set of signs that backup Austin Romine employed during Sanchez's absence.
Whatever the case, might the Yankees bench Sanchez for Romine come the postseason?
Let's be clear about something: Sanchez is an awful goalie. According to Baseball Prospectus' metrics, he's been the third-worst at blocking pitches this season, ahead of Jonathan Lucroy and Omar Narvaez. Sanchez is a scratch defender overall due to his framing, and he has a strong arm, but he's not skilled at smothering pitches in the dirt. Romine, on the other hand, is one of the best in baseball. He ranks fourth in the majors this season.
Even with the disparity in blocking abilities, Severino has actually pitched better with Sanchez behind the plate than Romine. It's true that Severino has a better strikeout-to-walk ratio with Romine, but his OPS-against has also been about 70 points higher. Of course small sample size is in play and there's no telling if that would remain the case heading forward.
Speaking of unsustainable trends, Romine has outhit Sanchez this season. No one expects that to continue, however.
So, what will the Yankees do? Theoretically, they could squeeze both into the lineup, with Sanchez inserted as DH. That would necessitate Giancarlo Stanton playing the outfield, and Andrew McCutchen sitting in favor of a healthy Aaron Judge. Such a scenario seems unlikely.
What seems more likely is that the Yankees will take a sober view of the situation and determine that Wednesday's game was an outlier -- albeit a memorable one. That the Yankees will concede Sanchez could stand to improve behind the plate, but remain solid in the belief that he's the best catcher on the roster and him starting gives the Yankees a stronger lineup and a better chance to win. That the Yankees go forth into the Wild Card Game with Severino and Sanchez wed once more.
And yes, that the Yankees don't come to regret their decision to continue entrusting Severino to Sanchez.
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