New York Yankees
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The Braves and the Blue Jays proved to be worthy opponents but the New York Yankees had a few tricks up their sleeves to come out winners.

They’re always up for a challenge, which is exactly what the New York Yankees have gotten all season long. However, they’ve demolished all opponents that stepped foot in the opposite dugout. This week was no exception.

With the Yankees facing their youthful National League counterparts and then their division opponents, the Yanks went 4-2 on the week for a 59-28 record on the season.

This week, however, it wasn’t all about the offense. In fact, the majority of the great plays that happened had to do with defense and pitching.

What happened on this holiday week? Let’s take a look back at some of the awesome plays that occurred in yet another successful week of Yankees baseball.

6. Tough out? No problem

Aaron Hicks has a way of making every single tough fly ball-out look so easy. In fact, he has the grace of a ballerina out there in center field. So making this tough catch against the Braves may not seem super impressive but, the truth is, he made that look really easy.

Hicks chased down Ozzie Albies’ fly ball on the warning track, doing a little leap for style points before coming down with the catch, much to the relief of fans at the ballpark and CC Sabathia himself on the mound.

I think we all need to realize that Aaron Hicks is a pretty stellar defender. Nobody should be worrying when he’s got his playing time in center field. That’s just silly.

5. Back-to-back Jacks

Don’t you love it when the Yankees lead off the game with a home run? How about two in a row?

Let’s take you to Saturday afternoon when Brett Gardner took one out on the first pitch in Toronto. Next, Aaron Judge sent one deep, much to the delight of his biggest fan in Toronto.

We haven’t seen this in a while so it is quite refreshing, especially the fact that Gardner took the very first pitch of the ballgame out. Maybe it’s the start of one of his power surges, which would be great moving forward in the season.

4. A Stanton Ovation

While normally people get on their feet for a Giancarlo Stanton home run, a great defensive catch does the same thing. Stanton did just that on Tuesday night.

Stanton first attempted to rob a home run and failed miserably. While trainers checked him out to make sure he was okay, the wall clearly was not. However, the next chance he got, he didn’t let the ball get past him.

Stanton made an awesome leaping catch to rob Kurt Suzuki of an extra-base hit and keep the bases empty for the Braves. If Aaron Judge has to be the designated hitter, we want to see more of these awesome catches from Stanton.

3. The Judge stealing?

Aaron Judge is so much more than a great bat and an incredible glove. Judge is also a huge threat on the base paths.

This time, Judge didn’t just steal a base. He stole third base, a rarity in today’s sport. He got the perfect jump with Didi Gregorius up to bat and he made it safely into third. With the Yankees already up 3-0, it wasn’t necessary but it worked.

That just goes to show how talented the Judge is, outside of the obvious stats like home runs and batting average. The Judge is a speedster on the bases and he doesn’t get enough credit for what he can do out there.

2. What the Hale?

This is an odd one to recognize because of David Hale’s DFA just hours after this performance. However, it was incredibly impressive and kept the Yankees in this game. David Hale truly put on the performance of a lifetime against Toronto.

Hale come on in relief on Friday night for Sonny Gray, who put together yet another poor performance. Hale pitched 5.2 innings and allowed one run on five hits. He threw 75 pitches and put the Yankees in the best position to win.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t pull out the victory for him and Hale was designated for assignment. What the Hale?

The saga of David Hale continues yet again. It’ll be amazing to see where he lands at the end of the season because it could very well be back in pinstripes.

1. Higgy Making History

Remember when Kyle Higashioka was an automatic out each time he stepped up to the plate? Yeah, not anymore. Instead, he’s in the Yankees’ history books.

Higgy basically loves the left field foul pole, as he stroked his first two hits (both home runs) there and for his third, he put the Yankees up 5-0 against the Braves and made history along the way.

Higgy actually is the second player in franchise history to hit three home runs for his first three major league hits. I mean, wow. How impressive is that? Especially for a kid who waited so long for his first hit.

While this week was pretty defensive-minded, it just goes to show that baseball is not just about offense. The Yankees’ offense will be back up and running soon but for right now, their defense is looking pretty stellar.

Next week brings a whole new slew of opponents on the road when they travel down to play four games in Baltimore and then three in Cleveland. Who is going to step up and own the top plays next week?

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.