Brett Gardner (NYY): 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI.
Brett Gardner is a Yankees legend. The last remaining member of the 2009 championship team, Gardner is tied for 15th on the Yankees all-time WAR list. His WAR of 44.4 is tied with Graig Nettles and Robinson Cano, and better than the likes of Jorge Posada and Don Mattingly. This does not imply that Gardner is better than these players were, it is merely an indicator of Gardner’s longevity in the league. In fact, if you look at the numbers, Gardner appears to have fallen off in the second half of his career. He has not had a batting average higher than .264 since 2014. The main reason the Yankees have kept him around so long is so that he can be a veteran presence in the locker room and set an example for younger players, but he helps his teammates just as much on the field as he does off of it.
Gardner gets deep into counts and makes pitchers work to get him out. He never seems uncomfortable with two strikes. Take last night for example. Gardner came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth with two runners on base and the Yankees down one. He quickly fell behind in the count 1-2, fouled off three consecutive pitches, and blooped a single into shallow centerfield to give the Yankees the lead. It was his third hit of the night, he finished the game going 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI. Gardner has gotten hot recently. In the last week, he is 8-22 with a home run and 4 RBI.
Let’s see how the other hitters did Wednesday
Paul Goldschmidt (STL): 3-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI.
It was another strong effort for Goldschmidt last night, the veteran first baseman fell just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. The home run was his 26th of the year, and the Cardinals won the game 11-4. Goldschmidt has had a strong second half to the season, raising his average from .244 on June 1st to .288 today.
Kyle Tucker (HOU): 3-4, 2B, HR, 3 R, RBI.
Kyle Tucker had a day for the Houston Astros. He doubled and singled, scoring both times he reached base. Then to put a cap on the night he went yard in the top of the eighth. Like Goldschmidt, Tucker fell just a triple shy of the cycle in the Astros’ 7-2 win over the Rangers
Andrew Benintendi (KC): 5-5, R, 4 RBI.
It was a perfect night for Royals outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Although they were all singles, I don’t think anybody has ever complained about a five-hit night. As a bonus, Benintendi drove in four of Kansas City’s 10 runs in the game. Unfortunately, it was not enough, as the Royals fell 12-10 to the Oakland Athletics.
Miguel Sano (MIN): 2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI.
It was a rough game for the Minnesota Twins last night, losing 12-3 to the Cleveland Indians. Sano provided the only offense of the night for Minnesota with a three-run home run in the seventh inning, his 28th of the year. Sano brings a lot of power to the table, but he brings a lot of strikeouts as well. Sano is in the first percentile of the league in K% and has struck out 10 times in his last seven games.
Bo Bichette (TOR): 2-3, HR, R, 5 RBI.
The AL East is in a dogfight to secure the two American League Wild Card slots. As it stands today, the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox are all tied for the two wild-card spots. If the Blue Jays want to secure one of those two positions, they’re going to need Bichette to keep doing what he is doing right now. The 23-year-old shortstop has four home runs in his last eight games and has five multi-hit games in that stretch.
Josh Bell (WSH): 3-5, 2B, HR, R, RBI.
The Nationals fell to the Marlins 8-6 in a battle of MLB cellar dwellers last night. Bell had a strong performance for Washington in the loss, picking up three hits and a home run. Bell now has 27 home runs on the year and has recorded three multi-hit games since the start of September.
Austin Hays (BAL): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI.
Austin Hays was the only offensive for Baltimore last night, but it was almost enough. His solo home run in the sixth inning cut the Yankees lead to 2-1, and his dramatic two-run blast off of Chad Green in the ninth gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead. The Orioles are trying to play spoiler to the rest of the division, and Hays’ efforts nearly handed the Yankees a devastating loss before the Gardner heroics in the top of the ninth.
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