Yankees Hot Corner – Thursday’s eighth inning personifies the Baby Bombers
The New York Yankees are getting contributions from all over the lineup, with Neil Walker and Brett Gardner stepping up Wednesday night.
With the Yankees down 6-5 in the eight inning, the turning point of the game came not with Brett Gardner’s triple that rocked the stadium or Aaron Judge’s home run that nearly made it collapse, but the at bats of the young Baby Bombers, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. These two had the two most important at bats of the game, if not the entire series.
Neil Walker started off the inning with a double and got the rally going. However, it was the masterful at bat of Miguel Andujar that made the rally possible. Andujar, down in the count and fighting off pitches, was able to squirt a ground ball to the right side of the infield to move Walker over to third. At worst, Walker would score on a sacrifice fly. At best, well you know exactly what happened. Andujar could have gone quietly into the night with a strikeout or an unproductive out, but he was able to buckle down and move the runner over. He had an at bat that was wise well beyond his years.
Speaking of wise well beyond their years, Gleyber Torres has continued to impress with clutch hits, walkoff home runs, and dazzling defense. However, a walk personified what kind of player he is already at such a young age. Craig Kimbrel challenged Torres with some of his best pitches, but Torres would not bite on any of the breaking balls. Kimbrel placed them perfectly, in a place where most young hitters would chase and strike out. However, Torres refused to swing and worked a walk to put men on first and third.
Brett Gardner took a fastball from Kimbrel into the gap of left centerfield, over the head of Mookie Betts and to the delight of Yankee fans. Walker scored easily, but Torres was even more crucial as his first to home trek ended in a head first, around the catcher slide that could give Yankee fans scares. Torres had to get Tommy John surgery last season after trying the same exact slide. Regardless, Torres was fine and the Yankees took a 7-6 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
Aaron Judge capped off the inning with a bullet two run home run straight into Monument Park. The Yankees took a 9-6 lead and honestly, it looks like this team will never lose a game again. Of course they will, but with that lineup from top to bottom they always have an opportunity to come back from any deficit, large or small.
Once again, it’s not always the things that show up in the scorecard that make the difference. The young bats of the Yankees have come alive in all sorts of ways. Both Andujar and Torres already have walkoff hits, but in this instance their patience and wisdom at the plate was the key to another Yankees victory. In the next coming weeks, look for Torres and Andujar to continue to have good at bats and get their team in a position to win the game. The Baby Bombers come as advertised, and they have great discipline already. The crazy part is, they’re just getting started.