The New York Yankees decided to go with a new look at catcher for ALCS Game 4, as Austin Romine gets the start over Gary Sanchez.
Gary Sanchez, who has started every postseason game at catcher, will play as the team’s DH on Tuesday night while Austin Romine takes over the catching duties for starter Sonny Gray.
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This also means that New York’s rotation of DH’s consisting of Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Matt Holliday will remain on the bench. In 30 at-bats from the DH spot, the Yankees have seen just one hit this postseason.
Perhaps moving Sanchez, who led all Major League catchers with 79 runs, 33 home runs, 90 RBI’s and a .531 slugging percentage this season, can help bring production to what has been a black hole in the lineup.
On the defensive side, Sanchez was hammered by almost everyone for catching a relay throw in Game 2, which allowed Jose Altuve to score the winning run despite having the ball beat him by what seemed to be half the base path. You may see Houston runners run wild today as Romine’s arm isn’t as strong as Sanchez’s, but at least there’s a good receiver who can eliminate passed balls.
As for Gray, his ERA when Romine is behind the dish is evidently an upgrade for the right-hander, who likes to bury his curveball into the dirt.
In three starts with Romine as his catcher, Gray posts a 1.45 ERA with a .183/.275/.268 opponent’s slash line. In eight starts with Sanchez, his ERA sits at 4.63 ERA with an opponent’s slash line of .237/.315/.452.
We’re of course playing with small samples here, but at least manager Joe Girardi is going with a new look instead of rolling the dice with one of his current DH’s.