Harrison Bader emerges as Yankees’ best playoff player

Harrison Bader
John Allen
Monday October 17, 2022

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Three home runs in his first playoff series for the Yankees signal the rise of Harrison Bader as New York’s best postseason asset. The Yankees, perhaps, made the move to acquire Harrison Bader precisely for scenarios like this one. Fans who criticized his trade are now started giving him attention due for a

Three home runs in his first playoff series for the Yankees signal the rise of Harrison Bader as New York’s best postseason asset. The Yankees, perhaps, made the move to acquire Harrison Bader precisely for scenarios like this one. Fans who criticized his trade are now started giving him the attention due to a superstar.

In Game 4 of the American League Division Series, which took place on Sunday night at Progressive Field, New York was facing the possibility of being eliminated. Harrison Bader found the seats for the third time in this series.

In the second inning, he hit the first pitch he saw from Guardians starter Cal Quantrill for a home run that Statcast said went 429 feet to left-center field.

Harrison Bader’s two-run home run was the difference in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Guardians. This means that there will be a win-or-go-home Game 5 in New York on Monday night to decide which team will play in the AL Championship Series, which starts in Houston on Wednesday night.

“He’s electric, really,” said Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, who put together a clutch performance of his own to force Game 5, “Impact player. He’s got moxie, baseball awareness, gets after the ball on defense. [I have] a lot of good things to say about that guy. And yeah, he’s having a really good series so far. It’s obviously been fun to watch.”

After sitting on the sidelines while his right foot got better and playing in only 14 games at the end of September, Harrison Bader has made a big splash in the playoffs. His first home run of the postseason and his first as a Bomber in Game 1 tied the game against Quantrill. Bader is now 5-for-7 against Quantrill with four extra-base hits. His solo home run in the seventh inning of Game 3 on Saturday night almost certainly would have given the Yankees a key insurance run if they hadn’t lost in a shocking walk-off in the ninth.

Manager Aaron Boone hailed Harrison Bader and said, “He loves to play the game and the power we’ve seen here in the playoffs has been huge for us.”

Harrison Bader’s home run in Game 4 could very well be the reason why the Yankees and Astros could meet again in the 2019 ALCS. Bader is the first Yankee to hit three or more home runs in a single postseason series since Giancarlo Stanton hit four in his out-of-this-world 2020 ALDS against the Rays. Stanton is the only Yankee with more home runs in a best-of-five postseason series. Bader is now tied for second place with Bernie Williams’ 1996 ALDS and Paul O’Neill’s 1995 ALDS.

Harrison Bader was given the wrestling-style championship belt that the Yankees give to their most valuable player after a win as a reward. Cole, who made his own case for the honor, finished his seven-inning, 110-pitch effort with a piece of advice for his teammates in the dugout. The game was very important, and the stakes were high.

Harrison Bader mentioned, “Gerrit said it really, really well; you just treat each out and each turn at bat as a single event and keep doing that until the game is over.”

The Yankees’ center fielder has already shown this kind of mindset with his patience and presence at the plate. He hit three home runs in his first four postseason games in pinstripes, which is a good example of this. Charlie Keller, who won the World Series five times, was the last Yankee to do that. He did it in 1939.

ESPN Stats & Info says that Harrison Bader joined Williams (who did it three times) and Mickey Mantle (who did it twice) as the only Yankee center fielders to hit three home runs in a single postseason.

So far in October, Harrison Bader has had one of the best ALDS performances by a Yankee in the team’s history.

Is Harrison Bader a better power hitter than Aaron Judge?

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