Yankees Luke Voit has made us happily forget about Greg Bird
If there was ever any doubt as to who should be the Yankees starting first baseman for the remainder of the season, Luke Voit’s 4-for-4, two home run performance on Wednesday night sealed that decision.
Relievers Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. That’s who Yankees general manager Brian Cashman traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for the straw that stirs the drink, Luke Voit.
With the physical appearance of Mark McGwire (please hold the steroid jokes), Voit, 27, is insanely strong — as his 135-pound bench press with one-arm recently showed.
And on Wednesday night in the Bronx, that power was on full display, as Voit had a career-high four hits, including two opposite-field solo home runs, propelling the Yankees to a 10-1 victory over the first-place Red Sox.
Backed by Luis Severino’s seven innings of one run, six strikeout ball — rookie Miguel Andujar’s 25th home run and 41st double of the season and the calming sight of superstar Aaron Judge playing back-to-back games, the Yanks were able to keep Boston from clinching the AL East crown and popping champagne for at least another day.
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Voit’s pair of homers, which came off of starter David Price — first in the fourth inning and then again in the sixth, now gives him nine dingers as a member of the Yankees.
If he were to hit one more before the final day of play, the Bombers would become the first team in MLB history with 12 players to hit at least 10 home runs — a monumental feat, indeed.
Since making his Yankee debut on August 2, Voit is slashing .323/.400/.634 with 20 runs scored, nine homers and 20 RBIs in 93 at-bats. A brief nine-day demotion to Triple-A Scranton in mid-August gave Voit the spark he needed to overtake Greg Bird as the everyday first baseman.
As for Bird, who hasn’t started consecutively since Aug 28-29, he is 13 for his last 100. Having played in a career-high 79 games with 305 plate appearances thus far, Bird is slashing a dreadful .195/.285/.303 with 22 runs scored, 11 homers and 37 RBIs this season — all but putting those pesky “small sample size” comments to rest.
Finally healthy but still unproductive, even Neil Walker, a second baseman by-trade seems to have jumped Bird on the depth chart — and rightfully so (as his three-run homer on Tuesday night proved the game-winner). What this means for Bird’s future in the Bronx remains to be seen.
But for a player that has only donned the iconic pinstripes for 29 games, Voit certainly didn’t sound that way when speaking to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com following the win.
"“We don’t want them to clinch here,” Voit said. “They’re our rival and we’re going to try to do everything we can. We’ve been cold as a team and we haven’t been our New York Yankees. It’s huge to get [Aaron] Judge and Didi [Gregorius] back healthy, and Gary [Sanchez] and [Aroldis] Chapman. It’s scary how good this team is going to be. We’re looking to do some damage in the playoffs.”"
With the Yanks maintaining a 2.5 game lead over the A’s for the first Wild Card spot, look for Voit to further establish himself as a vital key in the cog that is the Yankee offense.