Here’s your weekly fix of stellar catches, monster home runs and beautiful plays courtesy of the New York Yankees.
The New York Yankees just keep chugging along in the American League East while everyone below them is making moves.
The Baltimore Orioles have since fallen off, while the Boston Red Sox have been surging up to second place. Don’t count out the Toronto Blue Jays, who have just gotten some big names back from the disabled list.
However, the Yankees just keep rolling. With a successful 4-2 week over the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland A’s, the Yankees have shown recently that their starting pitching might be able to help carry them later this season.
This week, the problem was there were far too many plays to choose from for the Lit Six so we attempted to narrow them down as best we could.
A good problem to have, here are this week’s top plays for the New York Yankees.
6. Holliday Breaks Up No-Hitter
Saturday’s game was a nail-biter. Not because the starting pitching was failing again, but because as the sixth inning rolled around, the Yankees had yet to get a hit.
That is until Matt Holliday broke up the no-hit bid and simultaneously gave the Yankees the lead. And he did so in spectacular fashion, by crushing a two-run home run straight to the Oakland bullpen.
Holliday is the man of clutch home runs so far this season, slugging a walk-off during the Yankees’ improbable comeback against the Baltimore Orioles earlier this season. So it was only fitting that he was the one to break open the game.
Mr. Forearms took his ninth home run of the season and made it worthwhile. Thanks to Holliday, the Yankees were able to salvage an impressive performance by CC Sabathia.
Matt Holliday, a struggling offense’s best friend.
5. Sanchez Throws Out Runner From Knees
Saturday’s game was full of pleasant surprises and none was better than Gary Sanchez throwing out a runner at second.
Oh, wait. He did it from his knees.
The pure accuracy Sanchez demonstrated was just incredible. The strength of that arm is even more impressive.
Plus, it set the tone for the game. Occurring in the top of the second inning, Sanchez helped get Plouffe off the base paths and preserve their delicate 1-0 lead.
4. Ellsbury’s Spectacular Grab
Okay, so Jacoby Ellsbury may have gotten a concussion on the play, but it was a spectacular grab.
The first pitch of the game ended up going incredibly deep but Ellsbury chased it down to record the out. He got taken out immediately but he made an incredible effort to rob the Kansas City Royals of an early hit.
This is the second wall-crashing play that Ellsbury has completed this year. While this one was with far less pressure, he chased the ball down in the deepest part of the ballpark to help out Luis Severino.
Right now, we won’t see more Ellsbury plays for a while due to his visit to the disabled list. However, we can at least look back at this highlight and remember fondly Ellsbury’s day in center field.
3. Tanaka’s 13 Ks
Masahiro Tanaka entered the season as the unprecedented ace of the New York Yankees. He’s been having a difficult time living up to that.
He might have just rediscovered his ace status on Friday night. Pitching 7.1 innings, Tanaka gave up one run. However, we were most impressed by his 13 strikeouts against the Oakland A’s.
The bad news is that Tanaka got the loss. But his dominant performance showed the Yankees that he’s not done just yet. He clearly still has the ace still inside of him, no matter how many rough performances he has.
Tanaka is not ready to quit. 13 strikeouts certainly proves that.
2. Castro/Judge Combined Catch
Being at the stadium Saturday, the play was awesome. Watching it again on TV, the play was even better.
Starlin Castro ran back to chase down a difficult ball and as it landed in his glove, it popped right out. Luckily, Aaron Judge was in the right place at the right time to snag the loose ball and end the A’s threat.
That 4-9 putout was something that is unheard of in baseball. They do say teamwork makes the dream work and that’s exactly what happened for the Yankees.
Of course, that play saved a run, which was the difference in the game for the Yankees. Luckily the boys were on the same page and they have an incredible catch to show for it.
1. Judge’s Grand Slam
Would number one be anything else? Really?
Aaron Judge hit his first career grand slam on Sunday afternoon. So, of course, we have another Judge home run in our Lit Six, just like every other week.
But this one came after a short time frame without dingers for Judge. And he also tied Mike Trout for the league lead in home runs…well, before Monday’s game where he Judge officially took the lead.
Judge’s shot was not only his first grand slam but it gave the Yankees the lead for good against the A’s in the final game of the series.
I don’t know about you but I’ve been watching Aaron Judge’s grand slam on a loop and it just keeps getting better and better. More to come, this year? Let’s hope so!
Judge and the Yankees have had yet another successful week and are now looking forward to a few series against division rivals. I’ll have you know that top plays are that much sweeter when they come against your own division. Let’s see what they’ve got.