Monday, July 22, 2019

Gary Sanchez Is Hurt. And We Know When It Happened.

Think back, back, people, to the halcyon days of June 21, 2019.

Ah, that was a time!  James Paxton had titillated us once again with his potential through five, one-run innings against the Astros, and then The Greatest Bullpen What Ever Was carried us home, with 4 shutout innings.

It was also the last time that Gary Sanchez managed to get 2 hits in a game.

Since then, Sancho's managed to go 8-82, with 1 homer and 6 ribbies.

Folks, that's not a slump.  That's a solid wall of molten lava destroying your city and all that lives within it.  We're talking an entire month at .098, with barely any production to speak of.

Major-league ballplayers do not slump that bad, for that long.  It is a sure sign that they are injured.

What's more, there's increasing evidence of Gary's defensive shortcomings resurfacing.  A couple errors of late, a defensive interference...and overall he has thrown out only 20 percent of all baserunners this year.

That's well below the 30 percent Sanchez gunned down last year, when he was suffering from knee and shoulder injuries, and less than half of the 41 percent he nailed in his first year up, when he displayed a cannon that often looked borrowed from Johnny Bench.

Of course, the Yankees aren't admitting anything.  After figuring out all of the above, I happened upon George King's piece on pretty much the same thing (should always read the Post sports first, dammit!), and it includes this glorious quote from Savage Ma Boone:

“I feel he is getting his ‘A’ swing off a lot. He gets a pitch [to hit] he is fouling that pitch off. He is expanding the strike zone right now and that could be the result of him chasing [pitches]. I have talked to him about making sure he is focused and making sure he is having good at-bats. Gary’s talent and swing will lead to success. I don’t think he is that far off.’’

Ah, me.  Why is it I often feel that Ma missed out on a perfectly good career as a Soviet-era spokesman?  "Five year plan is great success!  That is why it will now go to sixth year!"

All that's missing are Boris and Natasha to come on and give some color commentary about moose and squirrel.

This is not good.  It looks as though—yet again!—the Yankees have come up with a key player who cannot stay on the field.  And rather than, say, get him the rest and medical help he needs, they will continue to pretend none of it's happening.

I was wondering what they would come up with to match Severino's "tipping his pitches" from last year.  Well, here it is:  "he is getting his 'A' swing off a lot."

Uh-huh.  And if I were Higgy, I would start browsing internet sites on the hot new eateries in NYC.

The thing I despise most of all about this is, it's the Yankees once again pretending to support a struggling player, when in fact they are hanging him out to dry.  We will continue to hear about Gary's "A" swing, and all the attendant suggestions that he's a head case, just like last year.

Until we get the off-season notification of whatever surgery he needs.

Cute.  To quote the great Elvis Costello, it's "a very fine line in character assassination."


Carl J. Weitz said...

He hurt his thumb a while back...maybe 3 weeks or so ago. But I'm not so sure that is his problem. He is probably fatigued but at this point so are most players both nicked up and tired.

Other than when he first came up at the end of 2015, before pitchers discovered his flaws, Sanchez has never been consistent except for his inconsistency. Sanchez has tremendous power and he has a good arm. But let's face it: he is both a stupid and stubborn hitter and so he never understands what pitchers are trying to do with him. Or he just can't control himself. Whatever it is, he seems to guess wrong a lot. Gary will hit his 35 HR a year when he stays healthy. And because of the talent around him drive in 100 runs or more in a season. But he will never hit for average and he will never be a truly clutch hitter. Or at least someone you can count on with the game or season on the line.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree with what you say, Carl. But a month under .100 with zero power goes beyond all that. And the last few times I've checked out games, he's getting beat on pitches right down the pike.

The thumb might be the culprit, but the "slump"—I hesitate to use so mild a word; call it "the vanishing"—started several games before that.

Since he still seems fairly mobile behind the plate, I would guess the shoulder. I suspect we'll hear something in another week or so, when his lack of production becomes so acute and extended that even the Yankees feel they can't hide it anymore.

Then we will hear many stories about how SOMEBODY NOT NAMED CASHMAN let this come to pass: Sanchez tried to play through the pain, a young intern misread an MRI, he picked up a bowling ball the wrong way...oh, the possibilities are endless!

JM said...

The suddenness of the slump and the duration argue for an injury. But never discount the Yankees' penchant for head cases. It usually confines itself to the mound, but there has been a Knoblach or two. Sanchez is stubborn, seems immature, and has breezed through his baseball life until last year. He may not be able to handle adversity and just meet it by doing what he knows, but doesn't work. Injury is one thing, but focus and plate discipline can be practiced in a wheelchair. Remember, 90% of the game is half mental.

JM said...

Just meets it. Sorry.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

We're all half mental, but I'd put my money on an injury in this case. When did the thumb issue happen?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Supposedly he hurt the thumb during the Lark in London, bob's your uncle. But as mentioned, The Vanishing was already underway.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Yeah, it could be anything with a hitter like Sanchez.

Could be that surgical shoulder he had over the winter gone awry. He isn't missing by much and as you said Horace even with pitches right down the middle. Which makes me lean towards what JM says (and I wholeheartedly agree) that Sanchez is a head case. In the minors, when you're that much better than the competition, and the pitchers don't know how to pitch, your physicality can overcome the worst habits. Not so in The Bigs.Stubbornness and lack of awareness lead to guess hitting and indecision and both can put you into career-long "slumps".

Anonymous said...

And what's the story with Gardner's knee?

JM said...

He's got two, from what I can gather.

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