The Lit Six: New York Yankees Top Plays for 4/9-4/16
Apr 12, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) watches a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have made strides towards a successful season this past week and here are the plays that got them there.

At first, the New York Yankees seemed lifeless. Now, the tide has turned. The Yankees are red-hot and dominating their opponents.

What changed? Easy; they’ve stopped worrying about what could go wrong (like Gary Sanchez getting hurt) and started focusing on playing the game of baseball.

Crazy concept, right? It’s easy to let distractions and the media get in the way of the game but the Yankees have started not to worry. They’ve been riding the wave straight towards success.

With various contributions from all parts of the lineup and starting pitching starting to show consistency, the Yankees are primed to make a run. Forget who they’ve been playing, the Yankees look good regardless of their opponents.

Here are the six plays that stood out from this past week for the Yankees. If we see more plays like this, we’re guaranteed to have a great season.

6. Judge’s Diving Catch

For such a large fellow, the Judge’s defense is criminally underrated. Tampa Bay Rays first baseman and designated hitter Logan Morrison discovered that the hard way on Thursday.

A hard-hit liner found a home in Aaron Judge’s glove after a graceful dive from the right fielder.

I think the Yankees are praising themselves for the decision to start Judge in right.
With the game tied at one, Judge saved starter Luis Severino from allowing another hit and ended the top of the fourth inning in style.

The verdict has been reached; the Judge is quite the outfielder for the Yankees.

5. Judge’s 3 home runs in 3 games

Can’t get enough of this young Aaron Judge fellow, now can we? He’s giving fans even more to talk about at the plate than on defense.

Starting Sunday, Judge went on a tear for three straight games, where he launched home runs in each. His first was game-tying shot in a must-win contest against the Baltimore Orioles. His other two were no-doubters, coming against the Rays at home.

We’re used to seeing power from Judge but his presence at the plate has dramatically improved since his last stint in the majors. Judge can crush the ball and he defined himself as a legitimate threat this past week.

4. Gardner’s leaping catch

The Gold Glove Award winner doesn’t have to prove himself to anyone but he still manages to do it with every play.

Brett Gardner made a leaping grab to rob Randal Grichuk of an easy double and saved the inning for starter CC Sabathia. A drop on that ball would have led to a 2-0 lead for the Rays over the Yankees.

Instead, Gardner gets style points for his stellar grab to help bail out his buddy on the mound. While it was only in the first inning, the catch raised similarities to his miraculous catch to save the game against the Toronto Blue Jays last season.

First inning or ninth inning, I’ll take a spectacular catch from Gardner any day. Thank you for being our savior, Brett.

3. Severino fans 11

Luis Severino earned the fourth spot in the starting rotation and shut down the naysayers with a miraculous performance Thursday evening.

The former top pitching prospect for the Yankees has struggled in the major leagues but this performance simply reminded everyone that he has the makings of an ace.

Allowing five hits in seven innings of work, Severino also fanned a career-high 11 batters against the Rays. It’s pretty clear that he’s been taking his lessons with former great Pedro Martinez close to heart.

The 23-year-old pitcher gives the Yankees some hope when it comes to how their pitching prospects will pan out. Let’s see how his next start goes before we start making assumptions, shall we?

2. Pineda’s Home Opening performance

Two starts against the same team could not have gone more differently. While Michael Pineda started out the season on a sour note, he came back to provide the Yankees with a stellar outing on the way to their first victory at the Stadium this year.

Pineda logged 7.2 innings on the day and allowed one run on two hits. He, much like Severino, struck out 11 en route to his best performance we’ve seen in a while.

His slider was on point and his fastball command was dominant. Basically he looked like a Pineda that could be a potential Cy Young Award candidate. A few more starts like that and we can really start having that conversation.

Whatever happens to him in the next few starts, at least we have this beauty of a performance to remember.

1. Hicks’ two home runs

Who would’ve thought that Aaron Hicks would earn the top spot in our plays of the week? With what he did this week, he well deserves it.

Hicks launched two home runs on Thursday night to single-handedly power the offense to a victory. Hicks drove in all three runs in the Yankees’ 3-2 victory to sweep the Rays.

A solo shot and a two-run shot capped Hicks’ night at the plate and gave the Yankees their fourth-straight victory. All in a day’s work, right Aaron?

Let’s see what next week brings in terms of timely hits and miraculous catches. The Yankees are heating up and that will only continue in the next few weeks.

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.