While Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has always been known for his ability to send balls into the stratosphere, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes that his improvement defensively is paying dividends for the World Series-hopeful Yankees. Per Ackert, relievers Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino were admittedly skeptical of their new backstop when they first joined the Yankees, but both have been pleasantly surprised with Sanchez’s work not only blocking the ball (after catching his fair share of flak for surrendering passed balls, Sanchez has cut his total from 18 last year to just seven in 2019), but also managing a pitching staff that includes a deadly stable of hard-throwing bullpen arms with different tendencies. That could very well be magnified as the Yankees play in the postseason; with many questioning the team’s rotation, Aaron Boone figures to rely heavily on what might be the deepest bullpen of the remaining contenders.
Some other notes from around the baseball landscape…
- With the Giants’ search for a new manager underway, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle inspects ten candidates who could be the first new manager in San Francisco since Bruce Bochy took over in 2007. They include incumbent Giants coaches, staff members from Farhan Zaidi’s time in Oakland, and other outsiders. Hensley Meulens, Eric Chavez, Mark Kotsay, and others could all be in contention, though Shea notes that some names are more realistic than others, and that those discussed are merely speculative. Still, for Giants fans interested in what each brings to the table, it’s a worthwhile summary.
- If the Astros advance to the ALCS, right-hander Brad Peacock could be added to the roster, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Peacock was a notable omission from the Division Series roster after he struggled in a late-season return from a shoulder injury. There’s hope that he could be fully up to speed ahead of the Championship Series, should the Astros advance. He’s set to throw a simulated game today to stay sharp during his time off the field. With just 11 pitchers on the roster for the first round, Peacock could replace a position player if he is indeed added to the ALCS roster.