Yankees: “Murderers Row” move over for “Death Valley”

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Gary Sanchez
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Gary Sanchez /

Not since the 1927 Yankees “Murderers Row has there been a lineup as prolific as this years Bronx Bombers, one that and may soon become the best of all time.

The nickname “Murderers Row” is best remembered in describing the first six hitters in the 1927 Yankees lineup: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.  According to Wikipedia:

"The 1927 Yankees had a team avg of .307.and outscored their opponents by a record 376 runs. Center fielder Earle Combs had a career best year, batting .356 with 231 hits, left fielder Bob Meusel batted .337 with 103 RBIs, and second baseman Tony Lazzeri drove in 102 runs. Gehrig batted .373, with 218 hits, 52 doubles, 18 triples, 47 home runs, a then record 175 RBIs, slugged at .765, and was voted A.L. MVP. Ruth amassed a .356 batting average, 164 RBIs, 158 runs scored, walked 137 times, and slugged .772. Most notably, his 60 home runs that year broke his own record"

Now I’m not saying that the 2018 Yankees will break illustrious those records this season because I do not believe in modern day baseball, it is possible to equal those statistics.

Every opposing pitcher that has to navigate the Yankees’ “Death Valley,” three times, will eventually wilt and give way to sheer mental and physical exhaustion.

That lineup includes Brett Gardner or Aaron Hicks at leadoff, then Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Miguel Andujar.

Gardner, the leadoff hitter, is second in the league in runs scored, and the one-two combination of Gardner and Judge are the best in baseball in runs scored, walks, OBP and OPS.

Didi Gregorius is leading the league in almost every offensive category with 29 hits and a batting average of .354, while belting nine home runs, driving in 29 runs and an outrageous OPS of 1.245.

Judge has picked up right where he left off from his sensational Rookie of the Year season and is not far behind Sir Didi, batting .337, with 22 runs scored, seven homers, 17 RBI, 24 walks and a league-leading .482 OBP.

An even scarier scenario for opposing clubs is that the reigning NL MVP, Giancarlo Stanton, has yet to get going with the bat. His five homers and 15 RBI is a byproduct of adjusting to the new league.

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Gary Sanchez, after his .278, 33-homer and 90 RBI performance in 2017, has started off slowly but still has six long balls and is among the league leaders in RBI with 21. For those that missed it, EL Gary hit a three-run walk off moon shot on Thursday afternoon.

Greg Bird’s replacement, Tyler Austin is hitting .290 with five home runs, 16 RBI and an OPS .991. In his last seven contests alone, Austin has flat-out raked at .350, with three homers and nine RBI, relegating veteran Neil Walker to the bench.

Rookie phenom, Miguel Andujar, was called up to replace the injured Brandon Drury and is hitting .279 with 13 extra-base hits. In his last seven games, Andujar is hitting .357 with six RBI and seven extra-base hits.

Coming off the disabled list, Aaron Hicks has only played 14 games but is still hitting .256 while driving in seven runs and racking up an impressive 10 walks. He also is sporting an OPS of .836.

The Yankees lead all major league clubs in almost  every offensive category:

  • R (146)
  • HR (39)
  • RBI (143)
  • OPB (.352)
  • SLG (.475)
  • OPS (.826)
  • TB (392)
  • Second in BB (111) — Nationals have 113 and XBH (94) — Red Sox have 95

The Yankees’ bench is led by utility infielder, Ronald Torreyes, who in his 14 games played is leading the league with a .417 batting average. No. 5 prospect in all of baseball, Gleyber Torres, has only recently been called up and has begun his career by hitting .316 in his first five games while playing a very nice second base.

It’s not just the opposing pitchers that fear this lineup. Every position player is under constant pressure to be at the top of their game because they are aware that any mishap or error will most likely show up on the scoreboard and even determine the games final outcome.

Death Valley” received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. It was called Death Valley because of the many gold prospectors who perished while seeking to cross the valley.

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The same will be true for many years to come as team after team will fall prey to the Bronx Bombers, as they enter and try to cross the relentless “Yankees Death Valley” lineup, just as they fell to the their “Murderers Row”  teams of the 1920s.