On Friday, all hope was seemingly lost for this New York Yankee season. After an awful first half, we started the second half with a COVID outbreak before a series with the Red Sox coming to town, losing Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Kyle Higashioka, Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisaga, and Cy Young contender Nestor Cortes Jr. Thursday's game was cancelled, and they kicked off the second half with a riveting 4-0 loss to Boston on Friday.
But then something happened. A flip was switched. The Yankees went from a rigid, slow, unathletic, boring, overpaid mess of a team to a fun, fast, small playing playing, exciting squad with a "Next Man Up mentality." And this version of the Yankees is actually winning baseball games.
Look at this lineup the Yankees rolled out last night.
If you told me at the start of the season that this is what the Yankees 5 through 9 in the lineup would look like on Sunday Night Baseball against the first place Red Sox, I would have legitimately had to ask if the team's plane crashed. But this group of guys scored 9 runs in a highlight win of this otherwise forgettable season. They're young. They're hungry. They hustle. They actually look like they care out there. They are embodying the "Next Man Up" mentality of 2019. Let's highlight a few of these saviors.
When you look up "spark plug" in the dictionary, you see a picture of Greg Allen's lovely face. He is everything the Yankees needed. He's fast. He's athletic. He makes contact. He does hit-and-runs. He just makes things happen. On the broadcast last night, A-Rod compared Allen to Kenny Lofton. Probably a bit of an overreaction and knee-jerk judgement, but I love it anyway. This weekend, he went 3-6 with a walk and a stolen base. Obviously a really small sample size, but he had some really good at-bats. He should be a starting outfielder for the foreseeable future and always play over Brett Gardner. All jokes aside, we're going to need to have a serious conversation soon about naming Greg Allen the captain of the New York Yankees.
A quote like this almost makes you earn your pinstripes. That's the type of fire and attitude the Yankees have been missing this season. In a year where the Yankees rest guys after long plane rides, Ryan LaMarre ran into a wall and then absolutely refused to leave the game. I love that attitude. It paid off when he hit a home run later in the game too.
Odor has been with the team all year basically, but he's been having some big moments as of late. He did the jacket thing in Houston last week. He's been running out to the outfield to check on injured players. He has a lot of energy. And he's hitting some home runs. Look at this pimp job last night.
Plus a perfect bunt single???
Get you a man who can do both.
Also, Odor is somehow only 27 years old. Only second baseman in baseball history with seven 10 home run seasons before turning 28. Most home runs (156) by a second baseman through their age 27-season in baseball history. Is this man on his way to Cooperstown???
On the latest Short Porch, we talked about these Next Men Up and more. Jameson Taillon might be good again. Gleyber Torres found his power stroke. Gerrit Cole is fully back and we're stupid for ever doubting him. Some asshole threw a ball at Alex Verdugo. We must stop the "Fuck Altuve" chants. And more.