Three games into the season, the New York Yankees find themselves with just one win. They lost 3-7 on Sunday, won 5-0 on Tuesday, and lost 1-4 on Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Rays. Let me make one thing clear before going any further; this is (not) an overreaction article. A 1-2 start to the season isn’t ideal, but this is not the time to be freaking out. It is however perfectly reasonable to look for ways to get the Yankees going. The key to hitting their stride is Gary Sanchez.
After last year’s historic finish, Sanchez was expected to be at about five homers by now. I’m kidding. Anyone in their right minds is not expecting Sanchez to pick up and keep the pace he set last year. Nonetheless, one hit in 14 at-bats to start the season is not what anyone was hoping for. He had a terrific spring and looked ready to get to business when the gates opened. Fortunately for Sanchez, and the Yankees, it has only been three games.
Let me reemphasize that this is not an overreaction article. I’m not concerned with Sanchez in any way. Especially not after just three games. Instead, this is just showing how important he is to the New York Yankees. Sanchez has an energy around him that the Yankees feed off of. He hit 20 homers in 53 games last year. The Yankees went 31-22 during that stretch. This spring, he hit five homers and batted .373. The Yankees went 24-9 in Spring Training. Sanchez has one hit to start the season. The Yankees have just one win.
So many things go into a team’s success, so obviously, these anecdotes should be taken with a grain of salt. However, it’s not a secret that when Sanchez is hot, the Yankees follow suit. When Sanchez starts hitting his stride, the rest of the Yankee pieces will fall into place. Hitting at the top of the order, he gives Greg Bird more chances to see pitches. When he gets going, pitchers aren’t going to want to pitch to him like they are now. They’ll work around him and give Bird a chance to swing the bat.
His impact spans beyond offense too. As we saw in Spring Training, Sanchez controls the run game as good as any catcher in baseball. He helps out pitchers in that they won’t have to worry about runners stealing bases on them. Confidence goes a long way in baseball, and with someone like Sanchez behind the plate, pitchers can focus on the batter at the plate.
Again, it’s just three games. He’s not the only one off to a bad start, but he has the most power to get the team rolling. The New York Yankees have an off day on Thursday. They begin a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. The Yankees need to get going before the dig themselves a hole, and it starts with Gary Sanchez.