New York Yankees: 6 Best Games of the First Half
Jul 8, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (30) is doused with Gatorade by New York Yankees designated hitter Brett Gardner (11) after hitting a walkoff three run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Take a sigh of relief, New York Yankees fans. Let’s take a look at some of the good that come from a rough first half.

The New York Yankees gave us a promising start to the season. And when I say promising, it was enough that fans were claiming they weren’t just rebuilding but actually all in for the long haul.

Those dreams came crashing down to earth in the past month as the Yankees fell out of first place, working through untimely injuries and poor performances from some of their big names.

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That’s the story of baseball though, right? The ups and downs are what make the season so exciting for both the common and the obsessive fan. For every heart-pounding, walk-off victory, there will always be a late-inning implosion that ends in heartbreak.

For all of those horrific losses that won’t seem to dislodge from our memories, there are still some incredible bright spots that highlight the season so far. Those are the moments that we should be clinging on to, as the Yankees will need more of those positive victories if they want to truly contend.

As we get a 4-day break from Yankees baseball, let’s think happy thoughts, about the times where we were sure the New York Yankees were going to be an unstoppable force all season long.

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Honorable Mention:

Late, Late, LATE Night Baseball (5/7/17)

The New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs. Baseball royalty facing the most recent champs. Of course, it was bound to be an entertaining series.

In the final game of the series, the Yankees and Cubs found themselves knotted at four for nine innings…and those nine innings happened after the first nine innings. So, the Yankees and Cubs played two baseball games in one night.

We all know that one close game is taxing enough. Aroldis Chapman clearly didn’t want the series to end, as he gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth to provide the attendees with free baseball.

It was a long, exhausting night but the Yankees showed off their impressive bullpen and were able to pull out a victory, resulting in a sweep of the Cubs. Oh, how sweet the good ole days were.

6. The Angels got Judged (6/12/17)

Aaron Judge played a huge role for the Yankees in the first half of the season. The MVP candidate did many things to warrant recognition but his biggest game perhaps happened in his home state.

The Yankees played a back-and-forth game for their first game on the West Coast this season. The Mike Trout-less Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ended up being a tougher match than they anticipated.

With the Yankees down, they plated three runs before the Angels tied it back up in the bottom of the seventh. Then came Aaron Judge’s time to shine.

Judge launched an opposite-field home run to break the tie and turned out to be the game-winner. At the time, the game seemed like just another win. But looking back, it was one of their last important victories they had on the road.

5. Clint Frazier Goes Downtown (7/8/17)

While recent, this game was still probably one of the biggest ones to happen this year. The Yankees started the contest down early, as Luis Severino served up a three-run homer in the first inning.

Once he settled down, the teams traded scoreless frames until the Yankees put two on the board in the seventh. Then, the bottom of the ninth rolled around.

The scene was set. All the Yankees needed was a hero. Who knew it would come in the guise of a ginger prospect who is just getting his first taste of the major leagues.

Clint Frazier came up with one out and two runners on and cranked one out to left field. He won the game. He brought back that “never say die” attitude that was so common early on in the season.

4. Pitcher’s Duel At Fenway (4/27/17)

Anytime the Yankees and Red Sox play, it is bound to be interesting. This game was interesting because it really wasn’t all that eventful. That’s what made it great.

Masahiro Tanaka faced off against Chris Sale at Fenway Park. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than that. But, oh, it most certainly did.

Tanaka pitched a complete game gem, allowing only three hits while he let his offense do the work. Tanaka straight-up outdueled Sale in his own home ballpark. That has the makings of a Yankees Classic right there!

Matt Holliday played his part, driving in two runs, while All-Starlin Castro drove in the final run along with that final nail in the coffin for the Sox. Oh, and Tanaka threw 97 pitches en route to victory.

I guess the Yankees got a ‘Hiro that day.

3. The Toe Knows (6/23/17)

One of the few exciting games in June, Ronald Torreyes capped an epic comeback by the New York Yankees to bring them a much-needed victory on their home turf.

Coming off an absolutely dismal road trip, the Yankees needed a pick-me-up. Tanaka and Yu Darvish faced off in a gem of a pitching match-up, neither starter allowing a run during their innings on the mound.

The Texas Rangers opened the scoring in the top of the ninth on a passed ball and the hopes of a Yankees victory dwindled significantly. But then, hope was restored with one swing of the bat.

The ever-clutch Brett Gardner took Matt Bush deep. Tie game. Then Ronald Torreyes sent the Yankees off into the sunset with a clutch RBI single to win the game. “The Little Engine That Could” just did.

2. Gardy Steals One From The Cubs (5/5/17)

The Gardner strikes again, this time snatching the victory from the Cubs. The blustery Friday afternoon game was one that was forgettable until that fateful moment in the top of the ninth inning.

The Yankees had two runners on, two outs and were down to their final strike. Have no fear, Brett Gardner is here! Gardner cranked one to right field to knock the air out of that entire stadium.

As fans stood in shock, Gardner rounded the bases with pure, child-like excitement. It was a huge blow to the Cubs but an even greater accomplishment for the Yankees.

Of course, Chapman came in to close out the game, giving the Yankees an exhilarating 3-2 victory. By far, one of the most memorable of the first half of the season.

1. Holliday Celebrates (4/28/17)

The best of the best happens to be back towards the beginning of the season. This happened before the huge slump, before the slew of injuries, before the Yankees bullpen knew how to break our hearts.

Down 9-1 early in the game to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees never gave up. They fought back and tied the game on Starlin Castro’s two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth.

With momentum in their favor, the Yankees capitalized, ending the longggg night with a three-run walk-off shot by newcomer Matt Holliday.

Words can’t even do this game justice. It has to be witnessed again and again in order to truly see the glory of it all. And trust me, it was fabulous.

The Yankees gave us a good amount to cheer about in the first half. Now, after a short break, they’ll be back at it again. I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more games like this in the second half.

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