The New York Yankees go with Kyle Higashioka as the ALDS Game 3 catcher over Gary Sanchez, making their confidence level in Sanchez clear.
Kyle Higashioka will be the starting catcher in ALDS Game 3 for the New York Yankees, proving that their confidence level in Gary Sanchez has never been lower. After going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Game 2, Sanchez will be riding the bench for Game 3.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 7, 2020
This decision screams “We don’t trust Gary Sanchez” more than anything possibly could. Higashioka got the call in Game 1 because of his positive numbers with Gerrit Cole. And when Cole says “I like throwing to Higashioka,” you let him throw to Higashioka.
With Sanchez’s start in Game 2, Yankee fans assumed that they’d see him with every pitcher except Cole.
However, that is clearly not the case. With the series tied at 1-1, Game 3 is a must-win for both teams. Prior to 2020, going with Sanchez in a game that carries so much weight would be a no-brainer.
Now, manager Aaron Boone has confirmed that the starting catching decision will be “day to day”.
Aaron Boone was asked who is the #1 catcher at this point. He said it is “day to day."
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 7, 2020
But with Higashioka in the lineup for Game 3, it seems pretty clear who has the edge on the starting catcher position.
Higashioka is miles ahead of Sanchez defensively, which isn’t exactly news to Yankee fans. But in the past, Sanchez’s defensive woes could always be forgiven by his insane offensive production from the catcher position.
Unfortunately for Sanchez, that offensive production has completely disappeared this year. He slashed .147/.253/.365 for an OPS of .618. His wRC+ was a measly 69. Defensively he was underwhelming.
In short, Gary Sanchez was terrible in 2020.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Higashioka is getting the nod for Game 3. If neither he nor Sanchez is going to produce on offense, at least Higashioka won’t cost the Yankees the game defensively.
But it’s still a shock to see the Yankees essentially admit that they don’t trust Sanchez right now.