Whether or not this week truly counted as his first Yankees-Purple Sox video games in particular person, even Andrew Velazquez didn’t sound positive.
“These tickets had been in all probability too costly for me,” the Bronx native mentioned late Wednesday night time.
Properly, right here at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees’ fourth-string shortstop rewarded those that paid a hefty admission price.
This inconceivable pinstriped season took one other nail-biting flip, with the Yankees prevailing, as has been their model of late. When Velazquez and the returning Anthony Rizzo teamed for an excellent remaining play, the Yankees secured a 5-2 victory over the rival Purple Sox, closing out a three-game sweep towards their former tormentors and — because of the White Sox’s 3-2 overcome the A’s in Chicago — carving out unique possession of the highest American League wild-card slot.
They did so with Velazquez, 27, who delivered a pair of RBI singles along with his game-ending glovework, incomes the cherished championship wrestling belt, which sparked him to supply a heartfelt speech to his teammates.
“In that locker room, with these guys, I’ve dreamt of doing what I simply did,” Velazquez mentioned, recounting his phrases. “In actual life, it was approach higher.”
In all probability far more nerve-wracking, too. These being the 2021 Yankees, the ninth inning turned turbulent when nearer Aroldis Chapman, getting back from the injured checklist, inherited a 5-1 benefit and served up a one-out homer to Hunter Renfroe, walked Xander Bogaerts and, with two outs, permitted a J.D. Martinez single. Aaron Boone accurately turned to lefty Lucas Luetge to go after former Met Kevin Plawecki, a righty swinger.
Plawecki pulled a grounder into the shortstop gap, the place Velazquez ranged to his proper, in some way prevented being blocked by third baseman Rougned Odor diving (and whiffing) in entrance of him and powered a throw to Rizzo, who snared it on a bounce.
“I used to be simply prepared for something there, something on the bottom,” Velazquez mentioned. “I didn’t know if Rougie was going to make a play on it, so I simply needed to see what was going to occur there. After which once I obtained it, I mentioned, ‘ what? I’m gonna throw it as onerous and as little as I can in order that Rizzo can simply decide it. If not, I might’ve thrown it within the household part within the second deck.”
Sure, the Fordham Prep product is high-energy and really humorous.
“He endeared himself to our room in spring coaching. I feel everybody loved attending to know him,” Aaron Boone mentioned. “He can actually play quick, however he has the defensive versatility to maneuver round. You see the pace that he has, and he can swing the bat a bit of bit. He’s gotten some massive hits for us right here the final couple of days and performed very well in serving to us win video games.”
If he’s not crushing it statistically, with a .217/.217/.261 slash line, Velazquez now has three hits in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring place. Within the second inning Wednesday, towards Boston starter Nick Pivetta, he grounded a base hit to proper area to plate Odor from third base, giving the Yankees a 2-1 edge. And within the eighth, off Josh Taylor, he grounded a single to left to attain Gary Sanchez from third to provide the house workforce a 5-1 cushion, no small factor given the Yankees’ recurring ninth-inning malaise.
“See the ball, hit the ball,” Velazquez mentioned, describing his method in these conditions. “Attempting to keep up aggressiveness. Attempting to not increase the zone. … Simply attempting to not do an excessive amount of. My job isn’t to hit a homer essentially, simply put it in play and let one thing occur.”
Music to old-school ears, proper? What a boon he has been for the Yankees, who’ve Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela on the injured checklist whereas Tyler Wade took the night time off.
Dropping their first seven video games to the Purple Sox looks like ages in the past for these Yankees, whose new shortstop is staying together with his dad and mom in The Bronx.
“Approach nearer than staying in Manhattan,” Velazquez mentioned. “Cheaper, too.”
“That’s particular stuff,” Rizzo mentioned of Velazquez’s speech. For the second, that applies to most issues about this wacky Yankees season, few greater than Velazquez’s rise.