Yankees News: Gary Sanchez awful base-running fuels blame from YES Network, Boone

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

So far this season, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is playing above expectations, however, the bar wasn’t set very high, to begin with. Sanchez is currently hitting .267 with two homers and four RBIs over nine games. His strikeout rate is sitting at 16.7%, indicating he’s making better contact and walking a bit more.

Overall, this is a solid start to his 2021 campaign, despite his defense being a tad problematic. Unfortunately, the games he has called haven’t always been efficient, as the Yankees were tortured by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, allowing seven runs, five of which came from Jamison Taillon over the first 3.2 innings.

Sanchez, though, hurt his team significantly in the eighth inning as the Yankees were desperately trying to claw their way back into the game. After Clint Frazier singled to left field, DJ LeMahieu doubled to deep center, and Giancarlo Stanton singled to center, the Yankees needed just a bit more offensive production to draw the game close.

However, Aaron Judge flies out to right, Sanchez walked, pushing Stanton to second base, and that’s when things got problematic. Sanchez, who hesitated to run to second base, was picked off in between base-paths, ending the inning prematurely without getting any more runs on the board.

This devastating baserunning error hurt the team significantly, and the post-game show on YES really got into how bad this was.

“That’s just inexplicable,” Yankees TV analyst Jack Curry said on YES Network’s post-game show. “That cannot happen. It looks awful. That’s something that probably shouldn’t happen in a high school game and it happened in a major-league game. And it really hurt the Yankees.”

Even skipper Aaron Boone had a hard time not blaming Sanchez in his post-game comments. Ultimately, he tried to spread the blame around, not singling in on any given player, but it was quite obvious what he was trying to dictate.

“I think (Sanchez) knew that he had second base, and Giancarlo was going to third and had a little bit of a hesitation a couple of steps into his trek to third, and that kind of froze Gary,” Boone said. “It’s a ball obviously (Sanchez) could have moved up on, but it’s important not to run off the guy in front of you. But you’ve just got to be heads up and in a better position to take advantage of that.”

At the end of the day, Sanchez needs to stop making these questionable mistakes, as they are the difference between winning and losing at times. A late-game comeback could be the spark that turns around the entire team after a tough start to the 2021 season. You never know what can act as a catalyst, and making boneheaded mistakes like being caught in a pickle with two outs is unacceptable.

New York Yankees Player Profile: Kyle Higashioka, where does hit fit this season?

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Tonight when Gerrit Cole takes the mound for the New York Yankees against the Baltimore Orioles, all eyes will be on who will be catching him. Earlier in the spring, manager Aaron Boone said that Kyle Higashioka would no longer be Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher.

The controversy arose when it was determined that Cole pitched better when paired with Higashioka behind the plate. Last season when pitching to Gary Sanchez, Cole had an ERA of 3.91, but when pitching to Higashioka, his ERA was 1.00 in his last four starts of the regular season. Higashioka also caught Cole’s 3 post-season starts with an ERA of 2.95. These stats are why Yankee fans were shocked when Boone said that would no longer be the case.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Gerrit Cole has never said anything negative regarding being caught by Gary Sanchez; however, he has expressed his comfort with the relationship he has developed with Kyle Higashioka.

Fast forward to this year. Cole was one of the Yankee starters that struggled the most in spring training, all but one caught by Gary Sanchez. He also gave up 5 home runs in just 18 innings. Five days ago, on opening day, Sanchez caught Cole in a no-decision game. He gave up 2 earned runs, one of them a homer. With Sanchez catching in four straight games, it would seem logical that he would get the day off, and Higashioka would catch. Tonight we will find out. Let’s take a look at Higashioka’s career.

Higashioka (he-GAH-shi-OH-Kah) is a fourth-generation Japanese American born on April 20, 1990, in Huntington Beach, California. He attended high school there and played for its baseball team. He has always preferred the backstop position when playing. After high school, he committed to the University of California to play for the California Golden Bears. Instead, he signed with the Yankees when they drafted him in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB draft.  He is the longest-tenured Yankee with Brett Gardner. Higashioka is multi-lingual.

His time in the minor leagues

He played for the Tampa Yankees A-Advanced team in the Florida State League and the Trenton Thunder AA club in the minors. During 2013 and 2014, he played in only 13 games due to an injured thumb and the need for Tommy John surgery. He played for the Tampa team again in 2015. After the season, he, as a free agent, again signed with the Yankees and started the 2016 season with the Trenton Thunder and won a player of the week award. He was then promoted to the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders. He finished the season .276 with 21 home runs and 81 RBI’s, and he was added to the New York Yankee’s 40 man roster, only to be optioned to the Rail Riders again at the beginning of the 2017 season. Due to an injury to Gary Sanchez, he was called up and made his major league debut on April 10 when he went 0-18 and was again sent back to the Rail Riders upon Sanchez’s return.

Kyle makes his major league debut

He in July suffered a knee injury and only played eight games in August and September. He started the 2018 season at the Rail Riders but was called up in June due to another Sanchez injury. On July 1, he hit his first major league home run against the Boston Red Sox’s David Price. His next two hits were also home runs, making him the 1st player to hit three home runs as his first hits in the majors since 1920.

During the rest of 2018 and in 2019 New York Yankees seasons , Higashioka was called up several times due to Sanchez’s injuries. When called up, he usually alternated with Austin Romine caring for the backstop’s duties and is an integral part of the organization. Kyle is not the best hitter, but when he does, it’s often for power (23 HR was between the Rail Riders and the Yankees last season). He calls a great game and is an excellent defender. He is the longest-tenured Yankee minor leaguer, having been with them eleven years before this season.

Competing to be the full-time backup catcher

After long-time catcher Austin Romine left for the Tigers last year in the shortened spring training, he played in 12 games and made 31 plate appearances.  He hit a team-leading three home runs in those appearances and drove in four while providing excellent backstop defense.  He competed to be the backup catcher for Gary Sanchez with Chris Iannetta and Erik Kratz.  With his spring training performance, he has nearly assured himself of the backup job and a dream realized. As it turned out late in the season, he became ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher with amazing results. He has solidified his position as the Yankee’s backup catcher.

Higashioka’s personals

Kyle is married to his wife, Alyse. They were married in November of 2016 in Maui. They reportedly have no children as of yet and live in southern California in the off-season. There are no know scandals involving Kyle. Although of Japanese heritage, Kyle could not speak Japanese, so he learned it to be able to better communicate with the likes of Masahiro Tanaka. Being the studious type, he also learned Spanish to better speak with the Latino Yankee Players.

He earned the nickname “Higgy” from his fellow Rail Riders and New York Yankee players and is very well-liked and respected by the other players. He has taken classes in mechanical engineering at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California in the off-season.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from Yankees win over the Jays

The New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays for game 2 of a three-game set to start the Yankee Stadium season. The Yankees lost the first game as the Yankee bat remained mostly silent except for a two-run homer by catcher Gary Sanchez. Yesterday was a totally different story as the Yankees beat the Jays 5-3. The Yankee bats came alive with 11 hits and 6 walks. The pitching was also great in the game. Corey Kluber started the game making his Yankee major league debut.

Corey Kluber made his Yankee major league debut

Yesterday in the Bronx, Corey Kluber made his major league debut for the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the first time Kluber pitched at Yankee Stadium; as a Cleveland Indian, he pitched at Yankee Stadium with a 3-1 record before becoming a New York Yankee. Over the offseason, the Yankees took the risk to hire a two-time Cy Young Award winner that hadn’t pitched in almost two years due to injury.

After watching Kluber’s rehab with Yankee training head Eric Cressey over the winter and being satisfied that he was ready to pitch again, the Yankee hired him to be their number two starter after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ to free agency. The Yankees did not attempt to hold any of their pitching free agents. After re-signing DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees immediately signed Kluber to an $11 million one-year contract, betting he could return to his Cy Young form.

So far, the Yankees have been happy with Kluber’s spring training performance and his start yesterday. In the game against the Blue Jays, Kluber got in and out of trouble, as any good veteran pitcher should do. Kluber, in four innings of work, allowed 5 hits while striking out 5 Jays. He allowed one earned run while walking 3. His earned run average sits at 2.25. If Kluber can remain with that ERA throughout the season, the Yankees will be more than happy with their $11 million investment.

Jonathan Loaisiga still amazing

Jonathan Loaisiga was one of the best New York Yankee pitchers in spring training. Yesterday he was called in to replace Cory Kluber in the fifth inning. What did he do in two innings of work? He went six up and six down for another brilliant performance.

The Yankees have been thrilled with Loaisiga’s performance since the beginning of spring training. In spring training, he pitched in seven games with an ERA of zero. So far in the regular season, he has pitched in two games for a total of 3 innings and still has an ERA of zero. Loaisiga, in his career with the Yankees, has been both a starter and a reliever. The Yankees feel that he can be best used as a reliever, but if there is a starter injury, you can be sure the Yankees will look to Loaisiga.

Gary Sanchez repeats his Opening Day performance

Over the offseason, the New York Yankees again put their faith in the struggling Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez. They did it because they thought he could still be the Yankee pitcher of the future, despite the horrid season he had last year. Last season he had a batting average of just .147 and lacked starts at the end of the season and in the postseason to the better catching and hitting Kyle Higashioka.

The Yankees tendered him an offer and hoped that he could return to the form he had in 2019 when he hit 34 home runs. As the regular season started, Sanchez needed to get off to a good start on the season. In-game one against the Jays, he had a single, a walk, and a massive home run driving in two runs for a great start on the season. Today against the Jays, he hit another home run and appears to be on his way to a rebound.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Corey Kluber good, Loaisiga brilliant, Sanchez homers again in win

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

Today for the New York Yankees, Corey Kluber made his Yankee debut at Yankee Stadium, and he had 11 million reasons to pitch well. He will be a free agent at the end of the season; he would like to up his value to when he was a Cy Young Award winner. Today he faced the Toronto Blue Jays Ross Stripling a swingman forced into the starting rotation due to Blue Jays’ pitching injuries. Last year between the Dodgers and the Jays, he had a 3-3 record and an ERA hovering at 6.00. It was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. The bright sun lighted the field throughout the game with a game temperature of 50.

Shortly after 1:05 pm, Corey Kluber took the Yankee’s mound; he faced Marcus Semien of the Jays. Semien singled sharply, Baggio at the plate Semien stole second. Baggio singled when Frazier lost the ball in the sun. Bichetter hit into a double play that Urshela was able to get rid of the ball quickly. Hernandez struck out to end the half and gave Kluber his first scoreless inning in pinstripes. LeMahieu led off for the Yankees against Stripling he popped out in the infield. Aaron Judge had a sharply hit single to left. Aaron Hicks struck out. Giancarlo Stanton walked, moving Judge to second. Gleyber Torres flew out to center, leaving two Yankees on base. No score.

At the top of the second, Vlad Guerrero Jr. was hit by a pitch. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit into a double play. Rowdy Tellez struck out to end the half. Jay Bruce at the bottom struck out. Gary Sanchez ground out. Gio Urshela singled to center. Clint Frazier hit a booming double to the left-field wall moving Urshela to third base. LeMahieu singled, and Urshela scored for the Yankee lead. Judge came to bat with men on the corners; he ground out. New York Yankees 1 Jay 0.

Grichuk against Kluber struck out.  Jensen walked, Semien walked, Biggio at the plate, Sanchez had a passed ball with Jensen reaching third. Matt Black, who worked with Kluber with the Indians, came out to the mound to talk things over. Semien stole second, and Jensen scored when Sanchez threw an off-center throw to second. Tie score with two outs. Bo Bichette struck out looking. Hicks led off the bottom, striking out. Stanton had a huge fly out to the left. Torres hit a single to right-center. Bruce went down looking. Yankees 1 Jays 1.

Hernandez started the fourth grounding out. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center. Gurriel Jr. line drove to left. Tellez flew out to Judge, and Judge fired in keeping Guerrero at third with men on the corners. Grichuk walked, loading the bases with Blue Jays. Danny Jansen ground out to end the half. Gary Sanchez at the bottom hit a line drive bomb into the left-field stands to give the Yankees the lead. Urshela struck out. Clint Frazier walked. LeMahieu singled, moving Frazier to second. The Jays relieved Stripling in favor of Chatwood. Aaron Judge loaded the bases for Hicks. Hicks singled, driving in Frazier as the Yankees tacked on a run. Stanton, with the bases, still loaded flew out behind the plate for the second out. Torres struck out, leaving the bases loaded. New York Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Marcus Semien homered off Kluber, and that was his day being replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga in the fifth. Baggio struck out, Bichette struck out, and Hernandez flew out to center, and Loaisiga goes 1-2-3. At the bottom, Bruce ground out to short. Sanchez flew out. Urshela singled and made it to second on a throwing error. Frazier ground out to end the inning. Yankees 3 Jays 1.

Loaisiga out for a second inning he grounded out Guerrero Jr. Gurriel Jr. ground out. Tellez struck out. For Loaisiga, that was 6 up and 6 down. At the bottom, LeMahieu walked. Judge flew out to left. Hicks struck out for his 6th time in two games. Stanton walked for two on and two outs. Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases again for the Yankees. Bruce hit his first hit as a Yankee and drove in two runs to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. Sanchez ground out.

At the seventh, Lucas Luetge made his major league debut on the mound for the Yankees. Grichuk singled on a hit that dropped in front of Judge. Crichuk advanced on a ball that bounced off Sanchez’s chest protector. Then another got away from Sanchez, letting him go to third. Jansen struck out. Semien ground out, but Crichuk scored. Baggio ground out. Urshela at the bottom struck out, Frazier went down looking. The Jays made a pitching change, and LeMahieu made a lot out to right. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

At the top of the eight with O’Day on the mound, Bichette hit a blooped hit over DJ’s head. Hernandez had a base hit moving Bichetter to second. Guerrero Jr. flew out. Gurriel Jr. flew out to Gardner. Chad Green replaced O’Day. Tellez struck out.  Judge led off at the bottom of the eighth with a strikeout. Hicks walked. Stanton flew out to shallow center. Torres ground out to short. Yankees 5 Jays 3.

With last licks on the line for the Blue Jays, Chad Green returned to the mound to face Grichuk, who struck out. Joe Panik flew out to short. Semien popped out to Urshela, and that was the game. Final score Yankees 5 Jays 3. Kluber was good, but Loaisiga in relief went six up and six down. The New York Yankees had 11 hits and 6 walks with much traffic on the basepaths. Yet they were only able to score 5 runs, but it was enough.  The winning pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, loser Stripling, and the save went to Chad Green.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Opening Day is just one day of a 162 game season

Opening Day is very special to the New York Yankees, especially when it’s at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Other than the celebrations, it is a game like any other game during the season. Of course, pitchers and players want to get off to a good start on the season, but it has little to do with how the players or the Yankees will do throughout the season.

The Yankees yesterday faced the Toronto Blue Jays in their opener and lost 3-2 in the tenth inning. It could be that the only reason the Yankees lost was the hold-over rule from the 2020 season that called for a man to be on second base. When the Jays opened the 10th inning, Rowdy Tellez was on second base. Crichuk hit a single, and Tellez scored the winning run. The Yankees still could have lost the game, but at the same time, it could have been a factor.

There have been all kinds of Opening Days at the Stadium, and the weather is always a factor. The weather yesterday rated a B + on the scale. It rained in the morning and cloudy at game time, but the sun showed strong for much of the game. Andy Pettitte pitched in 1996 pitching six-plus innings in the snow in a game the Yankees won. In 2018 Yankee Stadium was found to be blanketed in snow; the Monday start was postponed until Tuesday as Yankee personnel worked feverously to clear the field and stands.

In 1982, Opening Day had to be postponed to Easter Sunday because a blizzard loaded the Stadium will 11 inches of snow. But some Opening Days were spectacular; one that comes to mind was opening Day in 1976; the festivities were enjoyed with bright sunny weather with temperatures near 80 degrees. In that opener, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen were part of the celebration. Yesterday although it was celebratory, it was greatly toned down from previous years. By the way, in 1976, the Yankees had a comeback victory 11-4 over the twins, but they lost the World Series in four games. In 1982 they lost to the White Sox 6-7, they ended a losing season 79-83. In 1996 Pettitte won the opener 7-3 over the Royals, the Yankees won the World Series over the Braves, and in 2018 when the game was postponed, they won over the Rays 11-4 but lost the division series against the Red Sox.

The New York Yankees have never won 162 games; Mickey Mantle never batted 1.000. The point is that no team or player is going to be perfect. Baseball is a game that you hope your team wins more than it loses, and you always hope to win the World Series, but even the New York Yankees, which is the winningest sports franchise in the world, has lost more than they have won. The Yankees record presently stands at 27-89. For players, they all hope to be errorless and bat .300, but it’s unusual when it happens. If you were correct 30% of the time in academia, you would be considered a miserable failure.

Baseball is a game of failures; the less you fail, the better you are. When you consider one game of a 162, although every game is important, the one game means relatively nothing. Yesterday Gerrit Cole lost his game even though he pitched well. Gary Sanchez, who had a dismal season last year, was the star of the game, walking once, singling, and hitting a 407′ home run, driving in the only runs of the game. Does it mean that Cole will have a 20 game winning season or that Sanchez will hit 50 home runs on the season? No, it doesn’t; it’s just one of 162 games.

If anything can be taken away from yesterday’s game, one is concerning, and one is hopeful. The Yankee bullpen yesterday was great; they didn’t give up an earned run in the game. The concerning thing is that the Yankees’ offense was almost not present. And it is not just yesterday, in the last twelve games of spring training, the Yankees only scored 3.1 runs per game. The Yankees seem to have long stretches where the hitting is cold. You can not win a World Series with 3.1 runs per game or a postseason, for that matter, as demonstrated in the past few years.  The Yankees are going to have to solve this; it’s way above my pay grade.

Take wins and losses in stride, it’s going to be a long and exciting 162 game season. One where more than in past years, the Yankees have a better chance of obtaining that elusive 28th World Championship.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez’s Opening Day home run is bigger than it seems

New York Yankees‘ catcher Gary Sanchez took the first pitch he saw in the 2021 MLB season to deep left field for a towering two-run home run against the Blue Jays. Sanchez’s home run ended up being the Yankees’ only offensive production, as the team fell 3-2 to the visitors in extra innings.

The Opening Day loss was unfortunate, however, Gary Sanchez’s home run is a huge positive storyline for the Yankees. As we all know, the past three seasons haven’t been kind to Sanchez, as he’s bat just .200 since the beginning of the 2018 season with an OPS of just .748. However, Sanchez’s quick 2021 start seems encouraging that he could finally bust out of his three-year slump.

As the great Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.” This applies to Gary Sanchez, as his mindset and approach were likely the culprits of his previous struggles. Sanchez’s offensive potential has never been in question, as he managed to slug 34 home runs despite playing in just 106 games in 2019.

Previous seasons have seen Sanchez get off to a slow start and never really recover. For example, Sanchez hit just .202 in April of 2018 en route to a .186 average on the season. In April of 2019, Sanchez bat .233, around where he’d finish on the season.

What this all means is that the first month of each season is typically telling for Sanchez. If he gets off to a hot start, he stays hot, and vice versa. Seeing Sanchez hit a home run in his first at-bat of the season is an enormous confidence boost. Now he can’t go up to the plate with the mindset that he’ll get out every time. After the home run, Sanchez came up to the plate again and hit a hard groundball that he was able to beat out for a single. That just shows that confidence is everything.

Gary Sanchez’s performance against the Blue Jays on Thursday was highly encouraging despite the loss. Hopefully, Sanchez can build off his strong start and have a career year for the Yankees.

New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the Yankees Opening Day loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees met up with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday for the Opening Day of the 2021 baseball season at Yankee Stadium. It was the first time in over 500 days that the Yankees had fans in the stands for a regular-season game. 10,850 lucky fans were able to watch the game in person at the game that went into the 10th inning tied. Unfortunately, the man on second rule from the 2020 season may have cost them the game. The Yankee lost in the 10th inning to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. Here are three major takeaways from the game.

New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole looked good

There were plenty of positives in the Yankee loss yesterday. One of them was that Gerrit Cole had one of his best starts since the beginning of spring training. He lasted 5.1 innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings with a 3.38 ERA over the span. Normally that might be enough to secure a win, but as in the last several spring training games again, the New York Yankee offense couldn’t muster up more than two runs in the game.

The good news was that Cole struck out 8 Jays in the game; that was just one strikeout short of tieing for the most Yankee strikeouts in an Opening Day game. The rest of the Yankee pitchers, Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Darren O’Day, and Nick Nelson, did not give up an earned run. In fact, Nelson in the 10th struck out three but lost the game due to the man on second rule that saw Crichuk drive in Davis from second to secure the Jays winning run.

A lingering question yesterday and one that will probably last throughout the season is if Cole would have given up the game if he pitched to his 2020 personal catcher Kyle Higashioka. Yesterday’s starting catcher was Gary Sanchez. Last season Cole pitched to Sanchez with a 3.91 ERA, but pitching to Higashioka; his ERA was just 1.00 over the last 24 innings of the 2020 regular season.

Gary Sanchez started the season with a bang

In his first at-bat of the 2021 season with the Jays up by one run, Gary Sanchez hit a 407′ home run into the left-field stands, and he did it with Gleyber Torres on base, giving the Yankees a one-run lead in the game. Little did he know at the time it would be the only Yankee scoring in the game.

Sanchez also had a single and a walk in the game. This was a very positive start for Sanchez, who needed confidence to start the season after having a horrid season last year, where he hit only .147 on the season. Sanchez in the game also showed off his rocket of an arm, throwing out Crichuk, who tied to steal in the seventh inning. Sanchez also hit three homers in the spring but fell off in performance in the second half of spring training. A homer and a single was a great way for Sanchez to start his season.

Mike Tauchman showed why he is on the roster

In the final days of spring training, Mike Tauchman made the 26 man roster for the beginning of the 2021 season. Tauchman, like many players in the 2020 season, didn’t have the best showing in the shortened season. But playing relatively well in the spring, he made the roster.

Yesterday against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning Gary Sanchez walked to lead off the inning. In an odd move manager, Aaron Boone selected Mike Tauchman instead of the speedy Tyler Wade to pinch run for Gary Sanchez, who isn’t the speediest of runners. Tauchman immediately stole second base. Jay Bruce struck out. With Clint Frazier at the plate, Tauchman stole third. Frazier walked. DJ LeMahieu hit into a fielder’s choice, but Tauchman was called out as he tried to make it home. The DJ single was hit so sharply to the shortstop that it made it impossible for Tauchman to score. Wade may have made it home; no one will ever know. Nevertheless, Tauchman certainly showed his worth in the game.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose the Opener in the tenth 3-2 to the Jays

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

New York Yankee fans waited over a year to see a Yankee Stadium game with fans in the stands. Today was the Opening Day of the 2021 baseball season for the New York Yankees as they faced the Toronto Blue Jays. Many baseball know-it-alls believe the Blue Jays will be the major competition in the East for the Yankees, this writer included.

Today, after the festivities were over Gerrit Cole, took to the mound for the Yankees. The starter for the Blue Jays was their ace, Hyun Jin Ryu. The Opening Day celebration started with introducing the Blue Jays coaches and players to polite applause by Yankee fans. Then came the Yankee coaches and players’ introduction to huge applause of Yankee fans, far beyond the 10,840 in attendance. The Yankees pitched well in the game but lost it 3-2 in the tenth inning.

After the introductions, Cole faced Semien and ground him out. Biggio went down on strikes, and Bichette ground out as Gerrit Cole had a great start with a 1-2-3 inning. At the bottom, Hyun Jin Ryu faced DJ LeMahieu and ground him out. Aaron Judge struck out, and Aaron Hicks struck out swinging for a fast first for both pitchers.    It was evident from the first inning that all the New York Yankees were wearing the number 16 on their sleeve in honor of Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, whose number was retired in 1974. Ford passed away this winter.

Hernandez led off against Cole in the second singled just beyond Gleyber Torres. Guerrero Jr. singled up the center move Hernandez to second. Gurriel singled, driving in Hernandez for the early Jays lead. Tellez popped out to Jay Bruce. Grichuk struck out swinging. Jansen has always been a difficult out for the Yankees, but this time Cole struck him out. Cole’s command was off as his strike-to-ball ratio was not good. Jays 1 Yankees 0. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton popped out. Gleyber Torres, who had 5 homers in the spring, singled to left. Gio Urshela struck out swinging. Gary Sanchez homered well over the left-field fence driving in two for the Yankee lead. Jay Bruce ground out. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

At the top of the third, Cole took the mound with 38 pitches thrown. Semien flew out. Biggio was down looking. Bichette struck out for a fast half for Cole. Clint Frazier lead off the bottom of the third. It’s his first opening day start. Frazier ground out to the infield. LeMahieu ground out to third. Judge ground out as well for a scoreless third inning.

Hernandez, at the top of the fourth, went down looking. Guerrero Jr. walked. Gurriel Jr. struck out for Cole’s seventh strikeout of the game. Tellez flew out to Judge to end the half. Aaron Hicks led off the bottom by striking out. Stanton ground out in the infield. Torres struck out, making it a quick inning for both pitchers. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Grichuk led off the Jays with a long out to left field in the fifth inning. Jansen got a base hit to left. Semien flew out to Frazier. Biggio did the same, flying out to Frazier. At the Yankee half Urshela flew out to right. Sanchez flew out to left field. Bruce walked. Frazier singled, but the Jays asked for a check with New York umpires. Frazier was called safe. LeMahieu was nearly out on an excellent scoop but the second baseman Semien. Yankees 2 Jays 1.

Gerrit Cole out for the sixth inning struck out Bo Bichette. Hernandez homered to tie up the game. Guerrero Jr. walked, and that was Cole’s day; he fell one strikeout short of the most opening day strikeouts for any Yankee pitcher. (8). He was replaced by Chad Green, facing Gurriel Jr. Chad Green one pitch and a double play, and the inning was over for the Jays, but they tied it up. Aaron Judge led off the bottom with a single to center. Hicks singled for the force out of Judge. That was it as Chatwood took over for Ryu. Stanton went down swinging. Torres walked to move Hicks to second with two outs. Urshela made the final out. Yankees 2 Jays 2.

Green on the mound for the seventh popped out Tellez to Urshela. Crichuk singled past Green into centerfield. Jansen popped out to LeMahieu. Chichuk tried to steal, and the bullet arm of Sanchez caught him stealing, ending the half. Sanchez led off the bottom with a single to left. Bruce hit a long one that was caught on the warning track. Clint Frazier got his second hit of the game a single to left, moving Sanchez to second, with one out. LeMahieu walked to load the bases. Aaron Judge hit into an inning-ending double play. The game tied at 2.

Out to pitched the eighth was Jonathan Loaisiga, one of the best Yankee pitchers in spring training. Semien struck out against Loaisiga. Biggio flew out to Hicks in center. Bichette ground to LeMahieu, who threw to Loaisiga for the final out of the half. Rafael Dolus took over the pitching for the Jays at the bottom. He walked Aaron Hicks. Stanton went down on strikes. Torres popped out to the infield. Urshela went down swinging. On to the ninth inning. Yankees 2 Jays 2.

New acquired sidearmer Darren O’Day had the mound for the Yankees in the ninth. Teoscar Hernandez singled on a late throw from Torres. Guerrero Jr. popped out to LeMahieu. Gurriel Jr. struck out swinging. Tellez flew out to Judge. At the bottom, the Yankees had the chance for a walk-off like they did in the home opener in 1957. Gary Sanchez led off with a walk. Mike Tauchman pinch ran for Sanchez. Which was a good move as Tauchman stole second base. Jay Bruce struck out. Clint Frazier at the plate Tauchman stole third. Frazier walked. DJ LeMahieu singled, but Tauchman was called out as he tried to make it home. Aaron Judge, with two outs, strikes out to end the ninth.

10,850 fans in the stands got free baseball as the game went to the 10th inning, with Nick Nelson on the mound for the Yankees. According to the rules, Tellez started the inning at second. Crichuk doubled, driving Tellez in for the Jays 10th inning lead. Jensen struck out. Semien struck out. Baggio struck out, but the Jays took the lead. Jays 3 Yankees 2. At the bottom of the 10th, with last licks on the line for the New York York Yankees, Aaron Hicks was at-bat, with Judge on second base. Hicks went down looking. Giancarlo Stanton struck out. He stuck out with the Yankees losing the opener down to the final out with Torres at the plate. Final score Jays 3 Yankees 2. Ramano got the win, Nick Nelson the loss, and Merryweather the save.

Suppose today’s game is any indication it will be an interesting competition this season between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. Anyone could have won this game; it just so happened to be the Jays in the 10th inning.

WATCH: Yankees’ Gary Sanchez pops a 2-run homer to open up the 2021 long-ball account

With the New York Yankees trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0 in the second inning on Opening Day, catcher Gary Sanchez took matters into his own hands.

Sanchez, who posted a .200 average during the spring and had a terrible 2020 campaign, opened up his checking account in the home run department.

Sanchez launched a two-run blast to give the Yankees a one-run lead, with the ball traveling 407 feet. Just prior, infielder Gleyber Torres had a dink single to left field, getting on base and presenting Sanchez with an opportunity to drive in a runner.

 

2021 could make or break Gary Sanchez’s New York Yankee career

Austin Wells, New York Yankees

It’s certainly been no secret that Gary Sanchez has greatly underperformed the past three seasons for the New York Yankees. In the Aaron Boone era, Sanchez has had just one season above a .200 average and a .800 OPS. He’s worked hard to break out of his extended hitting slump, but now in 2021, there could be even more pressure to do so.

Austin Wells, the Yankees 2020 first round draft pick, has performed well this spring. Despite not yet making any minor league appearances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wells’s potential was high enough to receive an invite to major league spring training. In seven at-bats, Wells singled twice, including a hard hit up the middle on March 28 against Philadelphia.

At just 21 years old, Wells is making a strong impression on the Yankees. He was actually drafted in the 35th round of the 2018 draft by the Yankees out of high school, but decided to go to college instead. Being that the Yankees chose him again in the 2020 draft, that shows how highly the teams thinks of him.

Wells will finally get minor league at-bats this season since MiLB baseball is finally resuming, and he’ll have an opportunity to really show what he can do. If he performs well, the Yankees likely won’t be hesitant to advance him to higher minor league levels, especially if Sanchez is struggling in the majors.

So, if Gary Sanchez doesn’t perform well this season, his Yankee days could soon be outnumbered. If Wells continues his strong play in 2021, he could progress through the minor league ranks quickly and be major league ready soon. It’s certainly not unheard of that players make their MLB debuts within a couple years of their draft, and that could be the case for Wells if Sanchez continue to underperform for the Yankees.