Last night, the New York Yankees duo of Gerrit Cole and Kyle Higashioka continued to do their thing. It’s been noticed that Cole has pitched significantly better when Higashioka is behind the plate as opposed to Gary Sanchez.
So far this year, the Yankees ace had pitched eight games to Gary Sanchez with an ERA approaching four at 3.91. With Higashioka, Cole’s ERA is below one. Cole went 7 strong innings last night again only allowing one run from the Blue Jays in a victory.
I started thinking and looking back over the year. It’s not just Gerrit Cole who has pitched well to Higashioka. When Higashioka is behind the plate, the Yankees starters have pitched to a combine ERA of 2.61 in 14 starts. There is definitely something there with Higashioka.
Aaron Boone was asked about it yesterday and didn’t seem happy about the prospect of the Yankees backup catcher starting with Cole in game one of the playoffs. However, it’s not just about Higashioka catching Cole better, he’s just been better in every area than Gary Sanchez.
The Yankees Dilemma
The Yankees find themselves in an interesting position. Obviously, Higashioka is going to start game one of the playoffs to catch Gerrit Cole. But what about games two and three? Boone said that those would be Sanchez’s games, but are we going to ignore how much better Higgy has been?
Higashioka is hitting .273 this year with 4 home runs and 10 RBIs. He had another big night at the plate last night hitting a two run double that was inches from a home run. Gary Sanchez has been atrocious this year hitting .147.
Yes, Sanchez is supposed to be the Yankees star catcher, but in the postseason, your best team needs to be on the field. The reality is that Kyle Higashioka is better than Gary Sanchez right now. This is not about potential, this about play on the field.
Also, it’s not just about Cole and Higashioka’s relationship. J.A. Happ has pitched a lot better to Higashioka as well. Higashioka was behind the plate for Happ’s eight inning shutout performance against the Red Sox.
I understand where Boone is coming from, but Gary Sanchez hasn’t earned a starting spot this postseason. His offense has been terrible, he’s not been good behind the plate, and Higashioka has been better. He deserves that spot a lot more than Gary Sanchez.