It’s a whole new ballgame, New York Yankees fans! With a new season underway, it’s time to bring back our weekly top plays for this talented team.
With expectations through the roof for this season, the New York Yankees are early favorites to have an incredibly successful season. If you looked at just this week’s results, you might think otherwise.
The Yankees swept the Tampa Bay Rays in a two-game series before dropping three of four against the floundering Baltimore Orioles in their own ballpark. While a 3-3 start isn’t bad, the Yankees were in or leading every single game, including the two extra-innings contests they handed to the Orioles.
Although it wasn’t a perfect homestand to say the least, there were still some stellar performances that cannot be ignored. That’s what this weekly column is about.
So let’s dive into this season’s first installment of the Lit Six, the top plays on the field for the Yankees this week. Here we go.
6. Walker topples
Neil Walker is one of the newer additions to this year’s Yankees team but he’s already playing like an old pro. Camping out at the first base position on Thursday night against the Baltimore Orioles, he proved just why he’s a great utility man for this team.
Walker chased down the short foul pop from the dangerous Manny Machado to end the inning for Masahiro Tanaka. Machado, who is a lifetime .287 hitter at the new Yankee Stadium, had an incredible weekend and Walker was able to save the Yankees from having to toss him a few more pitches.
Great effort by Walker and an incredible stretch to snag that ball before it landed in the dugout. Also props to the dugout, who saved Walker from an untimely fall. Nice work, Neil!
5. Perfect relay
It took some time but replay wins again. With the lowly 1-5 Orioles threatening to score in the top of the first against Tanaka, a picture-perfect relay from Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius resulted in an exciting, inning-ending play at the plate.
We also can’t glaze past Gary Sanchez’s magnificent tag at the plate. Upon closer inspection of the replay, it is confirmed that the relay and tag couldn’t have been more perfect…Trey Mancini was out by a hair.
As a baseball fan, there are three things that are meant to make you incredibly excited: a monster home run, a strikeout to end a close game and a perfect relay.
4. Gardy says “Hold my beer”
Last week, Judge showed off his gun in Toronto, throwing out Russell Martin at home with a laser throw. This week, it was Brett Gardner’s turn.
Gardy camped out under a one-out fly ball with the bases loaded and did exactly what Little League baseball coaches preach. Gardner got a running start into the catch and was able to release a strong and accurate throw to stop former teammate Rob Refsnyder from scoring to end the inning.
In 10 games so far this season, Gardner and Judge have both shown off their arms from the outfield. Now it’s your turn, Giancarlo.
3. “Big Three” goes yard
How long would it take Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to go yard at Yankee Stadium in the same game? Six games.
That’s exactly what they did on Wednesday afternoon in the Bronx, as Stanton, Judge and Sanchez all crushed home runs to give the Yankees a comfortable 7-2 victory over the Rays. You could almost sense Stanton breathe a huge sigh of relief as soon as he hit his.
Hopefully that is the start of something great to come from these three sluggers. How many times will that happen this season? Well, you can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.
2. Excuse me, Judge, we have a robber
Tie game, 13th inning, a ball sailing towards the short porch in right. What happens next?
Well, Aaron Judge happens, that’s what. Judge proved that he deserves a gold glove in right field by robbing Caleb Joseph of a go-ahead home run on Friday night.
We’ve seen Judge make miraculous plays before but this one was picture-perfect. At the time, it was impossible to tell whether or not he came away with the steal or if the short porch claimed another victim. With the animated fans reacting in the best way possible, we knew that Judge had done the incredible.
Was there ever any doubt? He used every inch of that 6-foot-7 frame to rob Joseph and keep the Yankees in the game. Tip of the cap to you, Judge. Motion DENIED.
1. Didi goes deep…twice
Didi Gregorius proved last year that he has become a power threat in a lineup stacked with sluggers. On Opening Day in the Bronx, he christened Yankees Stadium in 2018 with a performance for the ages.
Not only did Gregorius slug two home runs, he drove in eight runs total in the Yankees’ rout of the Tampa Bay Rays. He was just on all day long, being patient at the plate and finding pitches he could drive to help the Yankees come out on top.
What an incredible performance by the shortstop, picking up right where he left off last postseason. Already tallying three home runs on the season, Gregorius is clearly ready for more.
Records don’t always reflect performances and that is the case with the Yankees, who clearly had some incredible player performances take place so far this season. The best part? It only gets better!
This week, the Yankees travel to Boston to take on their formidable foes from the AL East and then they catch a flight to Detroit for a three-game set. The season has just started but the competition is already hot.