The New York Yankees are six games behind the Red Sox for the AL East lead, but apparently Gary Sanchez doesn’t care. Sure, the Yanks are virtually guaranteed to make the playoffs regardless, but they may have to rest their entire season on a one-game Wild Card entry if Sanchez doesn’t knock it off with boneheaded displays of baseball like the one he showcased on Monday night in Tampa.
Kicking things off in the first inning, with a runner on second, Sanchez reacted far too casually to a passed ball from pitcher Luis Severino. The ball ricocheted off his heel and up the third base line, allowing Jake Bauers to advance to third. However, Sanchez’s slow jog to retrieve the ball was done at a painfully glacial speed, allowing the alert Bauers to actually sneak home when he realized there was no one covering the plate.
Okay, that sucked. But no big deal, right? It’s the first inning and the Yankees are very good and the Rays are firmly less good. Not only that, but Sanchez would later redeem himself with an RBI single to help make up for the run he needlessly allowed to score in the first.
Well, the Yankees ended up going into the ninth inning down 7-6, because baseball is a strange game where even the most crap teams can squeak out a win sometimes. Sanchez would find himself in a prime position to once again redeem himself, with the bases loaded and two out.
Instead, this happened:
After the Rays fumble around a bit and fail to end the game with a force out at second base, shortstop Willy Adames realized that Sanchez was (again) slowly jogging up the first base line, assuming the game was over. A quick throw over to first ended the game on the rare 4-6-3 putout. If Sanchez had been hustling out of the box, he likely would have beaten the throw and the Yankees would have plated the tying run.
After the game, Sanchez was asked about the two controversial plays.
“[I]f I would have done a better job of being quicker getting that ball, we should have a chance to get him out at home,” Sanchez said of the first inning passed ball. “That’s my fault.”
“I should’ve run harder,” Sanchez said about the game ending play. “I could’ve done a better job, for sure.”
“This [is] one of those instances where you learn from it,” he said afterward.
The Yankees have two more games against the Rays in Tampa, but it would surprise no one if Sanchez finds himself on the bench for one (or both) of them.