Along with tremendous power at the plate, Gary Sanchez comes with some questions behind it.
The New York Yankees catcher tied for the major league lead with 16 passed balls and 13 errors while launching 33 home runs and totaling 90 RBI through just 122 regular season games in 2017.
But Sanchez, and reliever David Robertson, would have preferred the 24-year-old let one ball—a foul tip off the bat of Brian Dozier—go through the wickets to save two more valuable balls during the team’s wild card matchup with the Minnesota Twins.
Because instead it caught him straight in the junk.
OH MY GOD RIP IN PEACE TO GARY SANCHEZ 😷😷😷 pic.twitter.com/WEBganY57H
— Illini Barstool (@BarstoolILL) October 4, 2017
Robertson felt deeply for his batterymate, and his reaction went viral.
David Robertson’s reaction after Gary Sanchez takes a foul ball to the nuts… pic.twitter.com/fI7sMRE4ll
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) October 4, 2017
— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) October 4, 2017
“Poor guy. I had a great view of it, he just took a tough shot right there,” Robertson said after the game. “I just felt for him. I’m wearing a cup, too. I just know how it feels to get hit there. It’s not fun.”
Robertson wasn’t just the star of Twitter on Tuesday night. He was arguably the game’s most important player.
Both starters got knocked out early in the do-or-die contest—New York’s Luis Severino recorded just one out while surrendering three runs and four hits. The Twins’ Ervin Santana gave up four runs in two innings before being yanked.
Robertson ended up pitching 3.1 scoreless innings, the most frames of any pitcher in the contest.
Never before has David Robertson thrown more than 2 2/3 innings in a major league game. Today in an elimination playoff game, he went 3 1/3.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 4, 2017
The Yankees’ bullpen, a strength all season, was immaculate, racking up 13 strikeouts in 8.2 innings and surrendering just five hits and one run en route to a 8-4 victory and the right to play the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.