During last month’s All-Star Game festivities, no Yankees participated in the Home Run Derby. It’s now clear that they sidestepped the official function to host their own version against the Rangers. The Bombers hit five home runs en route to their 7-3 victory.
J.A. Happ started Thursday night’s game for the Yankees, and he turned in another strong performance. In fact, I would argue he pitched better than his line suggests. Happ didn’t allow a hit until Jurickson Profar took him deep for a two-out solo home run in the fourth inning. Prior to that, the only baserunner Happ allowed was Shin-Soo Choo, whom he hit twice with a pair of errant pitchers.
Choo, however, got his revenge in the fifth inning. Happ worked himself into trouble, putting two runners on with just one out. That brought the veteran outfielder to the plate, and he launched a double to the wall in center field. Both runners scored, and the Rangers found themselves within striking distance at 5-3.
Happ settled down, however, and gave the Yankees another inning of work. All together he allowed three runs over six innings, and while that isn’t great, he looked far better. The left-hander struck nine batters out, while walking just one. I’m liking what I see from Happ. He can stay.
The Yankees, meanwhile, wasted little time getting on the board, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The damage came off the bat of Aaron Hicks, who demolished an Ariel Jurado fastball. That was Hicks’ 20th dinger on the season, and it kicked off the evening’s home-run derby.
Miguel Andujar struck next for the Yankees. He launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth. His 16th home run of the year gave the Bombers a 4-1 lead. Neil Walker followed and immediately went back-to-back with a blast of his own, this one to the second deck in right field. It was a moonshot off the bat, with the only question being if the ball would stay fair. It did, and New York went ahead 5-1.
The Yankees, however, didn’t stop there. In the fifth inning, Giancarlo Stanton swatted a laser home run to left field. With an exit velocity of 121.7 mph, it took over as the hardest hit homer in history of Statcast.
.@Giancarlo818 just made some #Statcast history!— #Statcast (@statcast) August 10, 2018
This 121.7 mph blast by the #Yankees slugger is officially the hardest-hit home run tracked by Statcast since the technology launched in 2015. pic.twitter.com/9b5C54Yj6a
Stanton came to New York with a reputation. He had a propensity to get locked in and rattle off home runs at a Ruthian pace. I think it’s safe to say he’s in that zone right now, with his third dinger in as many days. Enjoy the ride, friends. When Stanton goes on a tear, it’s something to watch.
The Bombers tacked on in the bottom of the sixth, when Walker hit his second home run of the game. This team he just scraped the wall in left field to give the Yankees a 7-3 advantage. Walker had himself quite the night, hitting homers from both sides of the plate, to opposite ends of the park, and at dramatically different distances. Good on the veteran infielder, who incurred the wrath of Yankees fans all season. Way to have a huge game.
Aaron Boone turned to his bullpen to close things out. David Robertson worked around trouble in a dicey, but scoreless, seventh inning. Dellin Betances retired the side in order in the eighth. Then Aroldis Chapman came in and instantly walked the first two batters he faced. He had no feel for the strike zone, a reoccurring problem. He settled down, however, and the Yankees walked away with their fourth win a row.
Masahiro Tanaka and Mike Minor will face off tomorrow night. If you’re interested in going, StubHub has tickets available! You can purchase them by clicking here.