Saturday, August 10, 2019

Gary Sanchez returns, hooray! (So why does that make us nervous?)

I don't want to rip on Gary Sanchez, a lifelong Yankee. I've followed him since July 2, 2009, when Old George bestowed the then-largest check ever upon a Latino 16-year-old, juicing our wet dreams of a future lineup with two catching titans: Gary and the incredible Jesus Montero, before the latter discovered Ben & Jerry's. (Fun fact: Jeez, now 29, is out of baseball; his career stats stand at 28 HRs with a batting average of .256. Wherever he is, I wish him the best. No hard feelings. Jesus is just all right with me, oh yeah.)   

But back to Gary. I've grown accustomed to his face, accustomed to his smile. I  love how he calms a terror-stricken pitcher by placing his reassuring meat hook upon the poor soul's shoulder. I appreciate the work Gary put in last winter, staunching a river of passed balls that made him resemble a Lipton Flow-Thru Tea Bag. When he gets hot, Gary can carry a team.

So, why am I dreading his return today?

Yes, I'll say it. I do dread seeing him. To have Gary Sanchez come up with the tying runner on second base means - well - nothing. He won't taper his swing. He won't slap a single to right. He'll either blast a ball into the next area code or drive a laser off the wall - his version of a single - or, more likely, he'll do nothing to advance our chances. It's a HR or nothing. Statistically, and you can look this up, his identical twin at age 25 is, gulp, Matt Nokes.

Last night, the Yankees lost for the first time in nine games, and much of our joy over the last two weeks came from the timely hitting of Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka, at the bottom of our batting order. Today, we return to the pecking order, which means Gary hitting in the middle of everything. 

Soon, the Death Star lineup will feature Aaron Judge batting second, Giancarlo Stanton third, and Gary at cleanup. Each will present looping, all-or-nothing swings that stir the heartstrings of hernias, and their solo homers will hardly replace the "replacements" that built a 10-game lead in the AL East. 

Last year, while the Yankees set an all-time HR record, Boston won the World Series with timely singles. This year, as super-balls fly out of stadiums, our celebrity sluggers continue to try and hit each ball into the Hudson. Last night, Judge came up with men on second and third, the Yankees down by five, and a key chance to affect the game. He swooshed on three pitches, carnival midway swings, and walked back to the dugout while the YES team reminded us that Judge was supposed to get the night off. Yeah, we love him, but Judge has 30 RBIs this year, and Stanton has another 7. (Clint Frazier has 34. Mike Tauchman has 41. The team leader is DJ LeMahieu, a lead-off batter, with 79.) 

Let's all hope for the best with Gary. The Yankees do need him. He can be a force. But over these next two months, I think the franchise needs to call the question: Is this the pillar of a championship lineup, or should we get what we can for him? I hate to think of any lifelong Yankee being traded. But here's how I see it: Next winter, one of our three catchers - Austin, Kyle or Gary - will probably go. Gary's future is in Gary's hands.

11 comments:

JM said...

It's a perverse reality that Yankees fans DON'T want to see our "killer" bats in the lineup. If Stanton comes back, we could embark on a losing skein that puts the Orioles to shame. It's tough to win when the heart of the order is actually the colon. DJ, Didi, Torres, and Ford can only do so much, assuming that ICS bumps Kyle and Stanton bumps Tauchman. And who does Eddie bump when he comes back? And Hicks? If it's not until roster expansion, fine, but which game-winning subs get left behind for the playoffs? Leaving our offense almost as crippled as our pitching.

It doesn't bode well.

Alphonso said...

The truth is; the Yankees will not win if they have all hands on deck. Most of those hands are awash in strike-outs, and dazed looks at the jumbo tron.

The fire in our belly is the ballplayers, whom we have been watching.

Gulp.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I hope Monday is a rest day for Gary. That way we can see him strike out only once-- as a pinch hitter with the winning runs in scoring position.

Anonymous said...

DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT I READ AN ARTICLE YESTERDAY THAT SAID GARDY IS POSITIONING HIMSELF FOR ANOTHER SEASON IN THE BRONX.

HELL, LETS BRING BACK CC NEXT YEAR TOO!

THIS IS NEVER GOING TO END.

FUCK IT ALL.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

As long as they don't bring back Holder.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS!

COOP SURROUNDED BY COPS WITH GUNS DRAWN RIDING A CAR ON A "STOLEN" LIST!

I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP.

UNFORTUNATELY, HE DIDN'T GET ARRESTED.

SHIT.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Damn! Do you know how long it took me to plant that license plate number in the NYPD computer system???

HoraceClarke66 said...

Don't knock the colon, JM. It's an incredibly useful organ. Unlike Mr. Cashman, who seems incapable of expelling any useless waste.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree with Duque—and think about what a strange, unique moment this is.

An incredibly over-performing Yankees team is 10 games up, with the second or third best record in baseball...and we're all sure it's doomed.

And you know what? We're right.

It's incredible that we can see this, and the guys who run this team—the few that aren't only concerned about enhancing their bank accounts or their reputations—can't.

HoraceClarke66 said...

This whole season has been an exercise in further discrediting my bete noire—WAR.

This year, we've had a chance to actually see "the Replacements." And guess what? THEY'RE ALL BETTER THAN THE "WINS ABOVE"!

Would they be over a whole season? Don't know. But then, when are any of our "starters" ever going to play a whole season again?

Local Bargain Jerk said...


It's tough to win when the heart of the order is actually the colon.

Ahhh, John M, I've been taking care of two dozen rather unpleasant tasks today and this gave me a great laugh. That's another candidate for the IIHIIFIIc masthead.

Austria clearly agrees with you. Fantastic.

Thank you.