Quick quiz: How many Yankees of years past would've swung out of their shoes with runners on the corners and one out in the 10th inning, needing just a sacrifice fly to complete an epic walk-off against an AL East rival? Plenty.
Good thing Anthony Volpe knows the game, and knew exactly what to do when he got a first-pitch low fastball with runners on the corners and one out in the 10th, following an inexplicable intentional walk to Willie Calhoun. Because any time you have the chance to set up the double play by walking Willie Calhoun, you simply have to do it.
Volpe's poised, one-pitch at-bat wouldn't have been possible without Aaron Judge's ridiculous game-tying blast with one out in the ninth, however.
Volpe might be this team's future, but Judge remains their present. After inducing a violent swing at a 100 MPH riding heater on the inside corner, Orioles closer Felix Bautista took a little off, hung a splitter, and Judge tattooed a game-tying shot into the left-field seats. It sure beats a bunt.
Yankees stars Aaron Judge, Anthony Volpe walk off Orioles
This game went to the 10th, where Michael King stranded the ghost runner on second against the heart of the order (Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle, Adam Frazier). There is no pitcher better at maneuvering around the ghost runner -- and, if there is, I don't want to meet him.
Cue Volpe, following a Harrison Bader dribbler and the dreaded intentional walk.
Volpe's a swing-and-miss threat more than a double play candidate, and letting Calhoun reach base made very little sense. Maybe the O's thought the rookie was flappable? Nope. Unflappable. Look at the way he handled this 96 MPH sinker below the zone.
Effortlessly. That's how he handled it.
That's the first of many walk-offs for Volpe, who absolved his manager of some very tough questions and helped the Yankees gain on both the Orioles and Rays with one impressive swing.
"Right approach there. Middle of the diamond," Boone said after the game. Correct. Completely. You can't coach that.
Or can you? Either way, it often seems the Yankees don't. Good thing they've got a natural on their hands.