With the Yankees suffering injuries to 16 different players this season, first baseman Luke Voit and catcher Gary Sanchez are carrying the Yanks with 20 combined home runs while sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are on the IL indefinitely.
Sanchez and Voit combined for 20 home runs through 33 games. Sanchez is tied for the AL home run lead with 11. Voit smacked 9 home runs and he’s tied for fourth in the AL in RBI with 29.
Sanchez missed 11 games this season with a calf injury. The Yankees catcher is an alumni of this season’s Bronx ER. He looked rusty upon his return with an 0-for-9 clip including seven ugly strikeouts. However, Sanchez has been on fire since the Yankees swept the San Francisco Giants.
Voit recently had a 42-game on base streak snapped. He ended last season with 11 straight games getting on base. Voit kicked off this season by finding a way to get on base in 31 straight games. Voit put himself on a best-of list with Yankee greats such as Derek Jeter and Joe DiMaggio.
“I don’t know where we’d be without Luke,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “He’s been huge for us. He’s just a really good hitter who’s locked in with all of the guys we’ve had down.”
The Replacement Yankees are 19-14 and only three other teams in the AL have more wins (Tampa, Houston, and Minnesota). The Yankees recently went 2-1 against the visiting Twins. They have a four-game series this week against the second-place Seattle Mariners, who have shown promise with 19 wins as well.
Kraken Rises Out West
In his last seven games, Sanchez is riding a seven-game hitting The Yankees released the Kraken against the Giants last weekend. Since he jacked a 467-foot grand slam in Oracle Park against, Sanchez is 9-for-23 with 5 HR and 10 RBI.
“I haven’t played with too many guys who can hit a ball that hard,” said teammate and Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino.
Against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, Sanchez went yard twice. That marked his 12th career multi-homer game. Through 284 big league games, only home run king Ralph Kiner had more at since an early age.
Sanchez belted the 80th home run of his career that game. Only Aaron Judge and Ryan Howard reached that milestone faster than the Kraken.
Sanchez, who is hitting .274 on the season, followed up his 2-homer night with a solo home run during a loss on Saturday.
So long as Sanchez stays healthy, he has a legit shot at 40 homers this season.
2nd of the night.
10th of the season. pic.twitter.com/4HBYT0D22x
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 4, 2019
What a long, strange trip it’s been for Luke Voit. Only a year ago, he was playing in the minor leagues and wondering if he’d ever get a shot to return to the show with the St. Louis Cardinals. Voit lost the starting job to Matt Carpenter and patiently waited for another opportunity.
Despite a short stint with the Cards, Voit had become a favorite player among the analytics department in the Bronx. As soon as the Yankees had a chance, general manager Brian Cashman acquired Voit in a trade for a pair of pitchers last summer.
Voit welcomed the change of pace in the Bronx. He also got an opportunity to pay every day. He crushed his short stint with the Yankees last year with 9 home runs and 27 RBI in only 33 games.
Coming into this season, Aaron Boone tapped Voit as the starting first baseman. When Aaron Judge went down with injuries, Voit stepped up. For a stretch of a dozen game or so, he was the sole big bat in the lineup and didn’t have anyone to protect him. Voit was leading the team in home runs until Sanchez got hot. Voit still has a slashline of .260/.377/.504 with 9 home runs and a team-leading 27 RBI.
Voit has become an instant star in the Bronx. Die hard fans love his Midwestern worth ethic.
“It is crazy,” said Voit. “It doesn’t matter where I am, and I’m recognized. It’s amazing how many people just love the Yankees. The Luke chants are just as loud on the road as at home.”
Now with Sanchez back in the lineup, Voit and the Kraken produce a powerful one-two punch. It’s not the same as Stanton and Judge, but it’s been just as effective.