Hey, is New York Yankees baseball a little bit different this year, by any chance? Do they constantly punch back, never left for dead? Are their stars performing like stars, even on nights when the offense spends five innings barely alive?
Just checking. Seems to be a consensus here.
As if the message wasn’t being hammered home enough, the Yankees used Tuesday’s opener of a two-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays as an emphasis point in their already-impressive season, showing off all their greatest hits in a late-game firework display.
Mid-game, game-tying shot by Giancarlo Stanton after five no-hit innings? Check. Luis Severino recovering from early struggles to soak up innings and strike out eight? Absolutely. A bizarre ump show and some Blue Jays peacocking from the dugout after Bo Bichette turned a fastball up and in into Clemens throwing a bat at Piazza? Most definitely.
Most importantly, though, the Yankees showed their trademark late-game resilience.
After Chad Green surrendered a tiebreaking double to Yuli Gurriel, who took third on the throw/Aaron Hicks’ hustle, the game sat at 5-3 entering the bottom of the ninth. Jordan Romano opened the inning by overpowering Isiah Kiner-Falefa, then losing the strike zone against Jose Trevino and DJ LeMahieu.
Up stepped Aaron Judge, who swung and tipped a hanger on 0-1. Damn. Missed his chance. Until a second hanger on 1-2, which he deposited deadly deep into left field. Ballgame.
Yankees’ Aaron Judge walks off Blue Jays with home run.
Jack Curry, in the YES Network’s postgame show, called Romano’s slider that ended up hundreds of feet away his “worst of the year”. He’s probably right.
According to Judge in the post-dinger interview, the Jays’ needless chirping and trash talk fired up the Yankees to respond in the ninth, with both patience and power.
Need any more proof this year might just be different? Aren’t the Yankees usually the team that talks trash, creates their own faux-motivation, and gets burned? Judge flipped the script for the entire roster on Tuesday evening, outlasting the ump show and changing everything.
How is it only mid-May?!