Top 10 moments from the Yankees' 2017 first-half

The Yankees ended the first-half on a month-long slide, but still remain in second place in a very winnable American League East and are positioned to win the AL Wild Card. At 45-41, the Yankees have still exceeded many experts’ expectations, and their younger players, who are the foundation for the future, have had to step up this season for injured players. Despite the recent skid, 2017 has been one of the most exciting seasons in a long time for Yankee fan to watch. The Baby Bombers, with some help of some seasoned veterans, have made 2017 fun to watch and full of intense and chilling moments. Here are the top ten moments, along with three honorable mentions, of the 2017 season as ranked by the BBB:
Photo Credit: AP
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter Night
The Yankees made another one of their legendary players immortal in May, when they retired Derek Jeter’s number and unveiled his monument that would reside in the iconic monument park. The pre-game ceremony came after a solid 11-6 victory over the surging Astros in game one of the Sunday doubleheader. The vibe in the stadium was electric and nostalgic, and it was the perfect way to honor the former Yankee captain. Unfortunately, the chants and cheers quickly transitioned to boo’s as Masahiro Tanaka got crushed by the Astros’ offense, and the Yankees would drop the game 10-7. Despite the crushing defeat, Derek Jeter night was a memorable night and truly symbolized the transition into the Baby Bomber Era.
Photo Credit: NY Daily News
Honorable Mention: Aaron Judge breaks the Statcast record for the hardest hit home run
Don’t worry Yankee fans. This moment may have not cracked the top 10, but Aaron Judge will be back. Aaron Judge is an anomaly among the size and build of his fellow Major Leaguers as he is often compared to the typical NFL player’s physique. In 2017, Aaron Judge has been made must watch television due to how far (may or may not be a foreshadow for a later moment) and how hard he can hit the baseball. In the second honorable mention of our rankings, Judge hit a home run harder than anyone has in the Statcast Era. On June 10, Aaron Judge blasted an absolute laser off the Orioles’ Chris Tillman that left the ballpark in a blink of an eye. The Yankees broadcast and fans alike were amazed at how hard the ball was hit, and to nobody’s disbelief, it was revealed the that the home run left Yankee Stadium at an exit velocity of 121.1 miles per hour, the hardest home run ever hit, since Statcast started tracking exit velocity.


Honorable Mention: Judge flashes the leather
Aaron Judge is undeniably prominent due to his bat, but he has had moments this season where he has flashed the leather. The two plays in particular that we are going to focus on are a double play diving catch at Tropicana Field against the Rays and an in the stands catch against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Here are the two videos of these dazzling plays. Enjoy.


Honorable Mention: Miguel Andujar’s debut
After the Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres injured himself on a slide into homeplate in a Triple-A game, Yankee prospect, Miguel Andujar, moved up on the depth chart to be called up. He did eventually get the call, and in his Major League debut, he put on a show. He went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and four RBI in the Yankees’ 12-3 blowout of the Southsiders in Chicago. It was the most RBIs in a Yankee player’s rookie debut. Unfortunately, Andujar was sent down the following day, because the Yankees’ realized this kid is the real deal and should be getting every day at-bats rather than being a bench player.
Photo Credit: NY Daily News

10) The duel of Japanese aces
Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish are two of the most talented pitchers to ever pitch in the United States from Japan. These Japanese aces had faced each other before in Japan, but faced off for the first time on June 23 in the Bronx. After almost a two-hour rain delay, both pitchers dominated opposing lineups for the length of their outings. Tanaka pitched eight shutout innings and struck out nine, while only allowing three hits and Darvish went seven shutout innings and struck out ten. The game was now down to the bullpens as both pitchers would receive a no-decision.

In the ninth, the scoreless ballgame was then a 1-0 Ranger’s lead as an Aroldis Chapman strikeout of Adrian Beltre got past Gary Sanchez and allowed Elvis Andrus to score. The Rangers’ closer Matt Bush came onto pitch the ninth and there was little to no energy in Yankee Stadium, unitl Brett Gardner hit an extremely clutch homerun to tie the game at one apiece and send the game to extras. In the top of the tenth inning, Chasen Shreve had a bases-loaded jam with Andrus ahead 3-1. Shreve would get him to pop up to Starlin Castro to end the threat. In the Yankees-half of the tenth, base hits by Didi and Gary would set-up a walk off single by Ronald Torreyes to end an epic night of baseball.
Photo Credit: Indy Star
9) Downtown goes Frazier versus the Brew Crew
As mentioned in the introduction, an influx of Baby Bombers have been recalled to the Majors in 2017 to fill-in for injured players. Clint Frazier received the call shortly after his Scranton teammate, Dustin Fowler, was ruled out for the season due to an injury he suffered in his debut. Frazier took no time to impress his teammates as he homered and doubled in his debut in Houston. Every Yankee fan knows he is a special kid, but nothing emphasized that thought more than his clutch home run just two days before the All-Star Break.

The Yankees dropped game one to the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in their three-game series in the Bronx and were primed to lose the series in game two with All-Star closer Cory Knebel on the hill to seal the Brewer’s series win. Clint Frazier had two runners on base, when he blasted a 1-0 fastball deep into the left field seats to walk-off the Yankees 5-3 over the Brewers. The team desperately needed a hit like Frazier’s to shift their slumping momentum, and in the words of radio broadcaster, John Sterling, it was a win the Yankees really needed.


8) Four home runs in one inning in Toronto
The Yankees have been one of the American League’s most potent offenses for much of 2017, and a big reason for it has been their ability to hit the ball out of the park. The Bronx Bombers have slugged 132 home runs this season and hit four of them in one inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at their home field. The Yankees were up 3-0 on Toronto, when the Jays brought in reliever Jason Grilli to try to keep the Yankees at three runs. He did the exact opposite as he was the first Blue Jays reliever to ever allow four long balls in a single innings. They were all solo shots off the bats of Gardner, Holliday, Castro, and Gregorius. The latter three were all in succession. The four home runs in one tied a franchise record for the Yankees and gave the visiting crowd a taste of the potent Yankee lineup.


7) All Rise: 496
Aaron Judge makes his first appearance on this list with a feat that went a very long way. In a June game against the Baltimore Orioles, Judge sent a Logan Verrett delivery deep into the stands for a whopping 496 feet, which is not only the longest in 2017, but according to ESPN, it was one of the three farthest home runs since 2009, the year ESPN began tracking home runs.
After the game, Judge was officially leading the American League in all three Triple Crown categories. Writing about it does not do it justice. Here is a clip of the monster blast:


6) A shutout in Fenway
Masahiro Tanaka has had some terrible outings this season, but still somehow finds two of his pitching performances in the top ten moments of 2017 thus far. While his battle against Darvish was phenomenal, it pales in comparison to his duel with Chris Sale in Boston on April 27. Tanaka pitched a complete game shutout, while only needing 97 pitches, and an insane amount of 72 strikes. Chris Sale was also solid as he struck out 10 Yankees over eight innings, but scattered eight hits and coughed a few mistakes to allow the Yankees to put together enough offense to win. It was the final game of a two-game sweep of the Red Sox and shocked most of the baseball world. It was the Yankees’ 12th victory in 15 games at the time.
Photo Credit: Boston Herald

5) Aaron Judge passes Joe DiMaggio
When your name is in the same sentence as a legend like Joe DiMaggio, odds are you accomplished a mighty feat. This was extremely accurate on July 7, when Aaron Judge crushed his 30th home run of 2017, which was one more than DiMaggio hit in his rookie season with the Yankees. Aaron Judge is a lock for AL Rookie of the Year and is putting himself into MVP contention very quickly. If the Yankee Clipper were still alive today, odds are he would be very impressed with the ridiculous run Judge is on this season.
Photo Credit: USA Today
4) A record breaking Sunday night in Chicago
In a series that had all the makings of a classic, the Yankees visited Chicago to face the reigning World Champion Chicago Cubs in a three-game weekend series. The series lived up to the hype surrounding as two of the top four moments of the 2017 season came from this series. The first moment was a long one, literally.

The Yankees and Cubs faced off on Sunday Night Baseball, as the Bombers were looking to sweep the Cubs. The Yankees seemed to have the game secured, until former Cub Aroldis Chapman blew a 4-1 Yankee lead to send the game to extra innings. 

There would be no scoring until the EIGHTEENTH inning, as a bunt single by Aaron Hicks, error by the Cubs’ catcher, another bunt, and a fielder’s choice would manufacture the Yankees a fifth run. Jonathan Holder, Chasen Shreve, and Adam Warren combined to pitch eight scoreless innings for the Yankees.
Photo Credit: AP
The game set a record for the most strikeouts in a single game with there being a total of 48 Ks, took six hours to finish, there were over 500 pitches thrown, and there was a total of 15 pitchers used. The Cubs sent John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks, and Jake Arrieta to pinch-hit for the relief pitchers in front of 40,000 fans on a cool 40-degree night. It was the longest interleague game in MLB history by innings and was one of the best wins by any team, so far, this season.

3) Brett Gardner stuns Wrigley
The second memorable moment from this series was arguably one of the biggest home runs hit by any player in all of baseball this season. The Yankees’ bats were silenced by Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs’ bullpen for the whole game, and game one of this series looked as if it would be a Cubs shutout.

In the ninth inning, the Yankees faced Cubs’ set-up man Hector Rondon, because Wade Davis was receiving rest, due to pitching in four straight games. He surrendered a base-hit to Chase Headley (before he started to play poorly) and walked Jacoby Ellsbury, to set up Brett Gardner’s at-bat, with two outs. Gardner was down to his final strike before he blasted a rocket over the the right field wall to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead and silence all of Wrigley Field. Aroldis Chapman would then make his first appearance in Chicago, since he pitched there in the 2016 World Series. He would make quick work of the Cubs and secure an epic victory.


2) Home Run Derby 2017: El Kraken dethrones the king and all rise for the new derby king
The Yankees had the honor of having not one, but two players invited to the Home Run Derby in 2017. The Yankees have not had a derby participant since Robinson Cano, and it was very refreshing to see two Baby Bombers on the national stage hitting bombs.

Gary Sanchez hit first for the Bombers and had a very tough draw, as he had to face Giancarlo Stanton in the first round. After being bashed by Logan Morrison about his selection, El Kraken silenced any critics and mashed 17 bombs to eventually lead him to victory over the 2016 Home Run Derby champion.

Judge’s first round was just as impressive, as his adversary, Justin Bour, hit 22 home runs in his Home Run Derby debut, before Judge even stepped into the box. Judge was not the least bit intimidated and made 22 home runs seem like nothing and moved to the semi-finals with Sanchez.

Gary Sanchez was eliminated by Miguel Sano in the following round, but Aaron Judge continued to make Marlins’ park seem small as he bested Cody Bellinger to move on to the final round.

Sano struggled to replicate his success in the finals, and Aaron Judge hit 11 long balls, with almost half of his time left to win the 2017 Home Run Derby. Sanchez ended up with 27 home runs and a 485 best distance, while Aaron Judge hit 47, which is the second most in derby history. Aaron Judge also hit four homers over 500 feet.
Photo Credit: MLB.com
1) The comeback
Is there any debate on what the number one moment is? In one of the craziest wins in 2017 by any team, the Yankees trailed this game 5-0 and 9-1, before they came all the at back to win the game 14-11. I am not going to lie, when the Yankees trailed this game by eight runs, I turned the game off, went to the gym to play basketball, and came back to see a 9-9 game. Rather than explain to you every play that went into this epic victory, a clip of the whole rally is below for your pleasure.

Comment below if we missed any moments and here’s to more great highlights in the second-half!

Also, the BBB apologizes for Chris Carter's release being snubbed from the list.


Article by: Ryan Thoms

 

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