Aaron Boone Defends Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton After Yankees Playoff Exit

Mike's On
October 24, 2019 - 4:43 pm
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A few of the Yankees best hitters just couldn’t get their bats going in the ALCS defeat to the Astros.

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Houston’s pitchers are some of the best in Major League Baseball, but the Yankees exit from the playoffs was harder to swallow because of the amount of times they wasted opportunities with runners in scoring position. A couple of players, like Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion, looked lost at the plate for large portions of the series.

Aaron Boone has now had a few days to look back on his team’s heartbreaking loss to Houston in six games. He joined Mike Francesa on WFAN on Thursday afternoon to talk about the end of the season, and to look ahead to the offseason.

Boone was adamant in his defense of Gary Sanchez. 

“I keep saying over and over, and I think a lot of people think it’s just us pumping our guy up, where Gary is defensively is now impactful,” said Boone. “I know he had a couple of passed balls that people make a big deal of, but that issue has largely gone away. What he does behind the scenes, as far as how his receiving has now gone, how he is in delivering a game plan … in my opinion he was a big part in us being able to really limit runs at a strong rate in the postseason. He’s a big part of that.”

Sanchez has received quite a bit of criticism from fans and media alike for his performance in the ALCS. The 26-year-old catcher hit .130 in the series and had a couple costly passed balls behind the plate. Some of his most disappointing at-bats came with runners on base in threatening situations. 

He has improved defensively, but this series showed that there is clearly still some room for improvement there.

Giancarlo Stanton got injured early on in the ALCS and ended up not being as available as he would have liked. His quad injury limited him to batting and limping around the bases.

Boone also defended Stanton, and added that the slugger could have been more available for the World Series, which explains why he wasn’t from the roster after missing a couple games.

“My hat goes off to him. Obviously, he had such a difficult year from an injury front. He had some significant injuries, coming back from a PCL tear in the knee and then hurting his quad like he did. He had a low grade two strain of the quad, which if it’s during the regular season that’s probably a three or four week injury … we felt the longer it went on there was a chance that, if we did move on, we could’ve had him ready there for the World Series.”

Giancarlo Stanton
USA TODAY Images

Boone’s defense of Encarnacion wasn’t as strong. He admitted that he had seriously discussed benching Encarnacion with his staff, but ultimately only decided not to because the other option, Stanton, was dealing with the quad injury.

“It’s certainly something we debated internally. The only way I would have gone, is putting G (Stanton) back in there, but I just really felt like the nature of the injury … I was tugging back either way. And I still had a belief that Encarnacion was going to get something done … but that was the only decision, as far as lineup goes, that I really toiled over for Game 6.”

Click on the audio player above to listen to Mike Francesa’s full interview with Aaron Boone.

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