The Yankees expect Greg Bird back in the lineup Saturday night in the Bronx and if he remains healthy the home runs will compile more for a team that hits more than any other team in baseball. In the meantime the absence of Bird was hardly felt and you can credit the youngsters on this Yankees team,
One game it could be Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, or Miguel Andujar. Friday night at Yankee Stadium it was the continued and rapid progress of 21-year old Gleyber Torres who got the home run in the seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 2-1 win over the Angels.
This is becoming a habit for Torres. The home run, his 9th to right-center off Jim Johnson was the decisive run that snapped a brief two-game Yankees losing streak. The home run was historic for Torres, becoming the youngest player in American League annals to homer in four straight games.
Adding Bird, assuming he stays injury free, makes the Yankees that more potent. But for now they will settle with Torres who surpassed Andruw Jones and Albert Pujols as that youngest player to hit home runs in four straight games in the modern era.
“Just another mature at bat in that situation,” his manager Aaron Boone said. “He doesn’t try to do too much, He goes with the ball, great swing and mature at bat.”
And it is this rapid development of Torres, and for now the popular Yankee player for fans. Not to say that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, or Gary Sanchez have lost their popularity. The Yankees are loaded, and when it comes to the manager or the fans they will take anyone at this point to be at bat in a key situation.
Friday night was no different, Judge had no impact at the plate but became the second Yankees outfielder since 2012 to have multiple assists in a game. The plays from right were accurate and strong throws that prevented the Angels from scoring runs that possibly made a difference in this win.
But it was Torres who was the difference, and that proficiency to hit the home run ball. It seems, just like when Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez come to bat, that the expected big hit is now coming from Gleyber Torres and quickly a potential candidate for AL Rookie of The Year.
“My approach is great,” said Torres. When asked about the record of four home runs in as many games he said, “Doing my job. Just go to the plate. My job try to get my big pitch.”
Those in baseball say it is the mentality of a player and Gleyber Torres certainly lives up to expectations since arriving on the scene. The Yankees have reinforced their role as one of the best teams in baseball with his bat and Torres is also shining with his glove at second base.
As for the game, right-hander Luis Severino did not have his best command however the 6.0 innings and one run, the 16th home run from Mike Trout, was good enough before the bullpen took over.
Boone went to Aroldis Chapman for the four-out save, and he recorded his 10th making his longest appearance and save since September of last season against the Minnesota Twins.
“It is something we want to do from time to time,” Boone said about using Chapman to get the four outs. “This was the situation. It was good to see him do that for the first time. Felt it was the move in that spot and he responded.”
The spot was getting another rookie, the Angels highly touted Shohei Ohtani to ground out. That stopped a potential rally and the Gleyber Torres home ball was the difference.
Then again, Torres made the difference Friday night and when the series continues Saturday evening it could be him again, or another one of these young Yankees that keep finding ways to win.
“When you combine intelligence and instincts and talent, you’re looking at what’s been a very special player for us,” Boone said. “I don’t know that a lot of guys come up with instinct. He’s got it to a fold.”
And the Yankees have it to a fold. Judge, Sanchez, Stanton, Didi, and more. Now of course the long term mileage they will get from from Gleyber Torres.