Yankees Making a Change Behind the Plate for Game One of the Wild Card Series Against Indians

Matt Loede

The Yankees are going with their ace in game one against the Indians on Tuesday night as expected, as Gerrit Cole will take the mound against Tribe ace Shane Bieber.

New York is making one change in their lineup that has to do directly with Cole, that being a change at the catcher spot.

ESPN reports that New York is going with backup catcher Kyle Higashioka, sitting 2019 and 2017 All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez.

It's been a rough season for Sanchez at the plate, as in 49 games for New York Sanchez is hitting just .147 with 10 homers and 24 runs batted in.

Indians to Host Yankees in the Wild Card Round at Progressive Field Starting Tuesday 

Higashioka in 16 games is hitting .250 with four homers and 10 RBI. In 48 plate appearances he's not walked once, striking out 11 times.

Higashioka has caught Cole in his last four starts, and Cole has been outstanding in those games.

Cole in the four games with Higashioka behind the plate has a 1.00 ERA, striking out 34 batters. He has given up three homers in those games.

With Sanchez doing the catching for Cole, he's got a 3.91 ERA, striking out 60 batters in 46 innings. 

In those eight games with Sanchez as his catcher, opponents hit .265 against Cole, putting up a .776 on-base percentage. 

Sanchez spoke through a translator about losing his job, saying that it's his job to stay ready to go when called upon. 

“I don’t focus on just who’s behind the plate,” Sanchez said through team translator Marlon Abreu. 

“We’re a team and that’s what’s important for people to understand. We have a team here and the bottom line is winning. I’m a soldier in this thing. If my name is on the lineup, I’m going to be ready for that. 

MLB Announces Start Times for Indians and Yankees Wild Card Round

"If I’m not starting, I’m going to be ready in the bench for whenever the team need me. You know, these are decisions that are made, my responsibility is to be ready to play when the time comes.” 

The New York Post reports that it's Cole's preference to have Higashioka as his personal catcher. 

We will see how it plays out Tuesday night at Progressive Field, and if the Yankees go back to Sanchez for Tuesday's start of veteran Masahiro Tanaka.  

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For more from Matt Loede, follow him on Twitter @MattLoede. Follow CBI on Twitter @IndiansonSI

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