Gary Sánchez has forgettable night for Yankees

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Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez would like a do-over on Monday night’s game in Tampa against the Rays. He went 1-for-5 at the plate, though he did drive in a run. He also did not show effort on some plays during the game.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Rays had Jake Bauers on second base with two outs against Luis Severino. Severino threw a 1-2 slider that Sánchez couldn’t handle. The ball skipped up the third base line. Sánchez did not go after the ball with a great deal of zeal, so Bauers kept running, rounding third base and heading home. Sánchez had to attempt an off-balance throw that was no good, allowing the Rays to break the 0-0 tie.

Severino and Sánchez were seen in the dugout after the inning in a heated discussion, but it was because Sánchez got crossed up. Severino took the blame for the cross-up, Marc Carig of The Athletic reports.

In the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees were down 7-6 but threatened with the bases loaded. After Aaron Hicks grounded into a force play for the second out, Sánchez himself hit a ground ball up the middle. The Rays’ infielders were shifted, so second baseman Daniel Robertson got the ball on the shortstop side of the second base bag. Robertson flipped to shortstop Willy Adames, who attempted to get the force out at second base, but he was too late, so Hicks was safe at second base. However, Sánchez wasn’t running hard, so Adames flipped to first base for the final out of the game.

The Yankees are now 63-35, six games behind the rival Red Sox for first place in the AL East. Monday night’s loss isn’t going to go down easy in the Bronx, so Sánchez’s effort is likely going to be a hot topic of conversation in the immediate future.

It’s worth noting, though, that Sánchez came off of the disabled list to begin the second half after having been out since June 25 with a groin injury. He may still not be feeling healthy enough to run, which would explain the lack of effort on the passed ball and the game-ending ground out. If that’s the case, it’s still on Sánchez to alert the team that he’s not 100 percent. It’s also on manager Aaron Boone, the coaching staff, and the medical staff to recognize that Sánchez isn’t completely healthy and to not rush him back from the disabled list and plug him into the lineup.

There will be fallout from Monday’s loss, so we should hear plenty more tomorrow.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.