New York Yankees: Underrated Brett Gardner is Proving His Value in October
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees celebrates after scoring on a double by Aaron Judge #99 during the third inning against the Houston Astros in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 18, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

No, he’s not one of the big names on the New York Yankees this postseason but Brett Gardner is giving the squad a boost in his own way.

The New York Yankees are doing work in the American League Championship Series and the Houston Astros don’t know what to do with themselves. Now that the Baby Bombers have woken up from their recent slumber, there is no stopping this team.

But while the big plays and timely hits steal the spotlight and hog the headlines, there is more to the game that is helping the Yankees take the lead in this series. That would be the efforts of Brett Gardner.

Despite batting .256 this postseason, striking out regularly and having yet to hit a home run, Gardner has made his value known in various other ways.

He may not be young and flashy like his teammates in Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge. However, Gardner is coming out every day and making pitchers work, staying patient at the plate and inspiring his teammates to never give in.

Back in the Wild Card game, Gardner didn’t jump on Ervin Santana. Instead, he remained calm while working a walk to lead off the inning. Down 3-0 already, Gardner needed to get on. And he did.

Fast forward to the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. Gardner put together a historic at-bat, continuing his patient approach and coming through with a clutch RBI single off Cody Allen to secure the victory.

Despite not logging a hit in Game 4 on Monday evening, he still came through in the bottom of the eighth inning. A groundout to second, his fourth of the night, resulted in a RBI and advancing the eventual tying run to third base. No, it’s not necessarily highlight-worthy. However, it’s the little things he does that keeps this team going.

And he continues to impress in the smallest ways, simply by making things happen on the base paths. Most recently, Gardner was seen scoring from first base on an Aaron Judge double in the bottom of the third inning last night. Using an impressive slide to complete the task, he chugged from first to home in a little over 10 seconds.

“But he’s not hitting home runs,” they say. “He’s not getting the big hits when we need them.”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s not all about the home runs. The playoffs come down to who executes the fundamentals the best. You’re facing the best of the best. If you don’t get a pitch that you can crank out of the park, you do whatever you can with that pitch, even if that means sacrificing yourself to get the run in.

And that’s what Brett Gardner does and continues to do this postseason. He’s not making the big plays or getting the clutch hits. Instead, he’s not trying to do it all and continues to show the grit that makes him such a valuable member of the team.

It’s always the big, flashy guys that get all the attention. What about Gardner then? He’s been an integral part of the team and even more so as the Yankees make their way through the playoffs.

Sometimes it’s not always the big things but the little things that mean the most. When it comes down to it, Gardner has played a huge role in the playoffs by doing the littlest things and that is the definition of a leader.

The longest-tenured Yankee has made an impact without being a home run hitter. He has taken on the role of unofficial captain during the most crucial series of the year and the Yankees would be nowhere without him.

There is never a bad time to turn a regular party into a Gardy Party and the playoffs are showing just how valuable Gardner is to this surging team.

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.