This CAN be determined in a millisecond, or in far less time than Gary Sanchez had at his disposal when Joey Gallo fed him with a perfect first-inning relay throw Friday night at Citi Field:
If the Yankees keep plummeting all the way out of the playoffs, then Sanchez’s failure to tag Jonathan Villar on that play in this eventual 10-3 Subway Series loss to the Mets, will be the defining moment of this batspit crazy campaign.
“It’s a big play, it’s an important play,” Aaron Boone acknowledged after his Yankees (78-63) lost their seventh straight game. “But you’ve got to deal with that over the course of a season, of a game.”
Oh, Villar’s capitalizing on Sanchez’s milquetoast execution — recognized only after Manhattan-based umpires overturned their Queens counterparts via Luis Rojas’ replay challenge — merely tied the game at 1-1, and the Yankees actually took one more lead in the second inning, 2-1, before losing pitcher Jordan Montgomery unraveled in the third by giving up five runs. Two other Yankees committed errors, although it sure appeared that Sanchez could have prevented one of them, Gio Urshela’s wide throw home in the third. Beleaguered shortstop Gleyber Torres could point no fingers at Sanchez after his seventh-inning high throw. And the visitors’ offense once again underwhelmed. The Yankees struck out 10 times in seven innings against Mets starter Tylor Megill to give the rookie a career high.
But Sanchez’s mistake on a sequence that started with a Javier Baez single to Gallo in left — and a terrible send of Villar by Mets third-base coach Gary DiSarcina, by the way — was so egregious, so unnecessary, so symbolic of his worst moments to which the Yankees recommitted last winter that it carried the night … and could carry far more if the Yankees, now losers of seven straight, can’t halt their hemorrhaging. Gallo’s throw had Villar nailed by some 20 feet, and Sanchez’s decision to sidestep the tag allowed Villar to sneak underneath him.
“Obviously he’s going to be out easy,” Boone said of Villar, “… and I think [Sanchez] felt like, because he was so out that he’d pull up, he got out of his crouch and athletic position. In that spot where you’ve got a guy dead to rights, you’ve got to just lower your body, maybe initiate the contact, but remain athletic in your legs.”
Asked if he thought that mistake impacted the Yankees for the rest of the game, Boone said, “Possibly.”
Miraculously, the Yankees still hold a playoff slot because the Orioles, of all clubs, stopped the Blue Jays’ winning streak at eight games in Baltimore, the final four of those Toronto wins came through a Bronx beatdown of the Yankees. Hence the Yankees lead the Blue Jays (77-63) by a half game for the American League’s second wild-card slot.
That represents the tiniest consolation for a team that can’t get out of its own way. That couldn’t capitalize on a perfect throw by recent acquisition Gallo, a relay that would’ve ended the inning on a high note, preserved a lead and perhaps boosted the struggling newcomer’s spirits.
That is amid a 2-11 nosedive that constitutes the Yankees’ worst stretch since 2000, as per ESPN.
“We’ve been the streakiest team in the league,” DJ LeMahieu said, correctly.
Sanchez has partially rewarded the Yankees for their faith in him, rebounding to slightly above league average offensively and cutting down on his passed balls, if still no Gold Glover behind the plate. A play like this really stings, though. It fuels his many critics. It stumps his supporters.
All the Yankees have to do is turn themselves back around for this lowlight to turn into a footnote. Can they handle that challenge? We’ll need far more time than a millisecond to find out, and if the answer is no, it’ll be a long, painful demise for this club and those who love it.
#Gary #Sanchezs #Subway #Series #gaffe #emblematic #Yankees #floundering