Karpin’s Korner: Where’s Gary? Mets’ Left Turn It On

The kids ask, “Where’s Waldo,” but the Yankees and their fans are asking, “Where’s Gary?” The “Kraken” aint exactly cracklin’ at the plate. A promising young hitter has disappeared but it’s not just this season.

Sanchez’ at-bats in 2020 have been awful and the numbers reflect that:
.132 average (10 for 77) 5 HRS, 9 RBI’s, 10 BB, 37 K, .253 OBP, .361 slugging (including last night’s doubleheader)

The 27-year old has not been a productive hitter since 2017. In that time, he’s put together a three year stretch that is downright dreadful. I researched his numbers (thank you baseball-reference.com) over that time period and here is what I came up with:

.204 average (162 hits for 796 AB) 57 HRS, 140 RBI’s, 96 BB, 256 K (including last night’s doubleheader)

Unfortunately, the Yankees are once again being ravaged by injuries. That has put even more pressure on Sanchez to produce. So far, he hasn’t and, at some point, the Yankees may have to make a big decision at a position where they are not deep in their minor league system. (Austin Wells has not played above “A” ball and is about 2-3 years away)

The Yankees may have made a mistake letting Austin Romine walk and that’s not a second guess from this “Korner. It isn’t blasphemy to say the Yankees could miss the playoffs. In a year where 16 teams make the post-season, that would be an embarrassing development for the franchise.

With so many injuries, who really is the ”Indispensable Yankee.” Some say Aaron Judge, but, with all due respect, it’s not Judge. It’s D.J. LeMahieu.

LeMahieu is the spark that not only jump starts the lineup, he is a contrasting presence in that he is a “pure hitter” and not a just a power threat. His batting average with RISP is off the charts and that ability strikes fear into opposing pitchers, especially with men on base. LeMahieu helps wear a pitcher down because they realize that there are fewer holes to exploit than the big power guys who strike out a ton.

LeMahieu has been taking swings and the Yankees are keeping their fingers crossed that he can return sometime in the next few days.

I’m not surprised the Mets swept a twin bill from the Yankees in the Bronx. The Mets are a dangerous team at Yankee Stadium because of the way they’re constructed. Just look at the lefties in the Mets’ lineup as compared to the Yankees.

Mets LH hitters: Dom Smith, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo, Robinson Cano

Yankees LH hitters: Aaron Hicks, Mike Tauchman, Brett Gardner, Mike Ford, and if you want to include Estevan Florial

You tell me which one of those lineups is better.

McNeil is not even hitting at this point in time but the Mets have a significant edge in left handed hitters. Add a Pete Alonso to that lineup and that provides balance, which is a key ingredient to a potent offense. At Yankee Stadium, that makes the Met lineup doubly dangerous. Who woulda thunk it.

The Mets have a unique opportunity to stick it to a very vulnerable Yankee team while also getting their season on track. The lineup hasn’t been consistent with RISP but that doesn’t mean it can’t and won’t get better. A successful stint in the Bronx could be just “what the doctor ordered.”

Consider how far Dom Smith has come. Three years ago, many Met fans wanted him run out of town. Move ahead to this wacky year of 2020 and Smith has not only established himself as a major league ballplayer, he’s established himself as a leader in the movement against social injustice. If you’re lucky enough to get to know him on a “personal” level, you realize what a great person he is. BTW: He’s also the Mets’ best hitter right now.

The 2020 doubleheader rule is starting to have its effect on the race for the playoffs.

A total of 21 games from those doubleheaders resulted in no more than a three run margin.

Going into Saturday’s play, 4 games were decided by three runs, 8 were decided by two runs while 9 games were one run decisions. How would these games have been different, if they played 9 innings instead of seven. That’s two additional innings that could’ve made a difference in these 20 games.

Don Mattingly and the Marlins organization is not getting enough credit for the job they are doing with the team. Going into Saturday, Miami is 14-13 and if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs.

Miami has been stockpiling some good, young talent, particularly in the pitching department (their farm system ranking went from unranked in 2019 to a top five spot in 2020) and it shows in how competitive they have been against any opponent. The Marlins will be a huge “pain in the neck” down the stretch and they may not necessarily be playing just a spoiler role.

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