Yankees’ homer barrage against Padres unveils ‘special’ Murderers’ Row

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton celebrates with teammate Aaron Judge after hitting a two-run home run as Juan Soto looks on during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, May 24, 2024, in San Diego.
John Allen
Saturday May 25, 2024

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Padres’ starter Yu Darvish took to the Petco Park mound against the New York Yankees on Friday night only to watch his 25-inning scoreless streak evaporating into the air. But this end was not just ordinary, even it was much more than being extraordinary bringing the visitors an 8-0 victory.

The Yankees unleashed a barrage of power hitting against him forcing Darvish to struggle through 5 2/3 innings, surrendering seven runs, including three home runs in a five-run third-inning onslaught. Their trio of sluggers, Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton, showcased their raw power in the third inning, combining for 1,249 feet of home runs in rapid succession. It marked the second time all three had homered in the same game.

After Austin Wells led off the inning with a single, Soto lasered a 0-and-1 sinker 423 feet to right for his 14th homer of the season and fifth in his last seven games, according to the Yankees’ broadcast team. Soto’s homer left his bat at 107.9 mph.

While Soto’s 2-for-4 performance with a homer and a double was a fitting response to the boos he received from the sellout crowd of 43,505 at Petco Park, the Yankees’ onslaught continued. Judge and Stanton followed with their towering blasts, showcasing the team’s offensive firepower.

The Yankees have hit three home runs in an inning numerous times throughout their storied history, but few innings have matched the sheer power displayed in the third against the Padres.

Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres continued their power surge, leading the New York Yankees’ offensive onslaught against Yu Darvish. Judge, slashing .393/.528/.917 over his previous 25 games, crushed his team-leading 16th homer, a 409-foot blast to left that left his bat at 104.9 mph, making it 4-0, according to team officials.

After an Alex Verdugo single, Giancarlo Stanton reprised his 2016 Home Run Derby heroics at Petco Park, lasering his 13th homer of the season 417 feet into the second deck, the hardest-hit ball of the three at 110.9 mph, extending the lead to 6-0.

Torres led off the fourth with his fourth homer, a 411-foot shot to right-center, pushing the advantage to 7-0. All four homers came on the first or second pitch, as Darvish surrendered as many homers in a six-batter span as he had allowed to his first 195 batters this year.

When asked about the Yankees’ success against Darvish, Soto downplayed the outburst, saying the team had been performing at a high level since the season’s start, team sources reported.

“It’s not surprising at all,” he said. “We’ve been doing this since day one of the season.”

Yankees power show hints at a new Murderers’ Row

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton celebrates with teammate Aaron Judge after hitting a two-run home run as Juan Soto looks on during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, May 24, 2024, in San Diego.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The New York Yankees’ formidable trio of Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton have combined for 43 home runs so far this season, surpassing the total of five Major League Baseball teams, according to team officials. 

Judge’s power surge continued on Friday, marking his third home run in as many games, his 10th in the last 18 contests, and his 16th of the season. Over the past 18 games, the slugger has gone 25-for-60 (.417) with 18 RBI and 10 doubles, showcasing his torrid form in May. On the year, Judge has amassed 16 homers, 37 RBI, 35 runs scored, two stolen bases, 17 doubles, and a .275/.411/.619 slash line over 53 games.

While a repeat of his 62-homer campaign from 2022 is considered unlikely, Judge has benefited from good health and a productive lineup around him in 2024, cementing his status as one of the best sluggers in the majors, team sources reported. His cold start to the season, which saw him batting .178 with a .674 OPS, four home runs, and six doubles through the first 27 games, is now a distant memory.

According to Stathead, Judge is just the third Yankee in franchise history to record at least 15 home runs, 15 doubles, and a 1.000 OPS through his first 52 games of a season, joining the illustrious company of Roger Maris (1960) and Lou Gehrig (1930 and 1934).

Stanton, the designated hitter, has also been in fine form, going deep seven times while adding 11 RBI and eight runs scored over the last 15 games. His recent power surge has more than doubled his home run total for the year, as he now boasts 13 long balls in 2024. Stanton has posted a .246/.295/.520 slash line with 29 RBI, 23 runs scored, eight doubles, and no stolen bases over 183 plate appearances.

Soto’s home run extended the Yankees’ lead to 3-0 in the third inning against the San Diego Padres on Friday night. The superstar outfielder has been on a remarkable tear, going 11-for-27 (.407) with five homers and nine RBI over his last seven contests. This was his fourth multi-hit effort in that span, lifting his slash line to an impressive .315/.413/.581 through 53 games this season.

Soto has added 14 homers, 43 RBI, 39 runs scored, four stolen bases, 10 doubles, and a triple to his stat line. The Yankees have won 10 of their last 12 games, and Soto’s contributions have been instrumental to that success, according to team sources.

Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged that with both Soto and Aaron Judge in exceptional form, opposing pitchers are facing a daunting challenge. According to team reports, Boone noted that it must be intimidating for the opposition, given that Soto and Judge bat back-to-back, left- and right-handed. He mentioned that the opposing team likely constantly thinks about their capabilities as the lineup turns over and expressed his relief that they are on his team.

“It’s gotta be a little daunting for the other side,” Boone said. “I’m sure knowing they’re back-to-back, left- and right-handed, probably constantly on your mind as the lineup’s getting ready to turn over, knowing what they’re capable of every time they come to the plate. I’m certainly glad they’re on our side. It’s been fun to watch those two guys connect, grow together, be back-to-back in the lineup every day and feed from each other, learn from each other and really perform to create quite a tandem.”

Boone expressed his delight in witnessing the duo’s synergy, mentioning that it has been enjoyable to see Soto and Judge connect, grow together, and be back-to-back in the lineup every day. He noted how they feed off each other, learn from each other, and perform well, creating quite a tandem.

Judge’s 3.0 bWAR was tied for sixth-best in the majors, accompanied by the fourth-highest OPS, and tied for the third-most home runs and second-most doubles, according to team officials. Soto, with a 2.5 bWAR, ranked fifth in OPS (.972), 12th in batting average (.312), and tied for fifth in home runs (13).

When asked about his recent hot streak – he had clubbed nine home runs in his past 17 games before Friday – Judge credited “just not missing the ball” while also praising Anthony Volpe and Soto for setting the table before him, team sources reported.

Yankees sluggers return to MLB prominence

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton celebrates with teammate Aaron Judge after hitting a two-run home run as Juan Soto looks on during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, May 24, 2024, in San Diego.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Each of the Yankees’ sluggers features prominently on MLB’s home run leaders list. Judge’s 16 ranks third, Soto’s 14 ranks fifth, and Stanton’s 13 ranks seventh. Their combined 43 home runs equal the totals of the Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals, and surpass those of the Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago White Sox.

Aaron Judge’s resurgence has been nothing short of remarkable. After posting a .725 OPS through May 2, the Yankees slugger has soared to third in MLB with a 1.030 OPS, according to team officials. Entering Friday’s game against the San Diego Padres, Judge and Juan Soto combined for 182 wRC+, the best mark for any Nos. 2 and 3 hitters in Major League Baseball.

Stanton has been one of the biggest surprises for the Yankees this season. The slugger, who had been a disappointment dating back to the second half of the 2022 season, underwent a body transformation and swing changes during the offseason. His efforts have paid dividends, as he now boasts an impressive .815 OPS.

A noticeable difference this season is that even when Stanton, the Yankees’ designated hitter, isn’t clobbering home runs, he remains a threat for damage – a departure from last season’s struggles, team sources reported. He’s always been the exit velocity king and hit mammoth home runs, like the one he hit into the second balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co.’s brick building to cap a five-run third inning for the Yankees on Friday.

However, for Stanton, the past year and a half has seen him struggle with everything in between the home runs. He acknowledged that it’s been a gratifying start to the season for him because he’s seeing results after an offseason of change.

Boone noted that the best part is Soto’s significant presence in the middle of the order. He emphasized that regardless of whether Soto comes through, his presence in the lineup is evident. Boone added that navigating through Soto and Judge, followed by Alex Verdugo and then the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton, is challenging for opposing pitchers. He highlighted that Soto has felt like a real threat every day he has been in the lineup.

The Yankees’ success, with a 36-17 record, cannot be attributed solely to Judge, Soto, and Stanton. Their starting pitching has been superb, and their bullpen has the second-lowest ERA in the league. Anthony Volpe has taken a leap in his second year, and contributions have come from just about everybody on the roster, team officials noted.

When asked about the “Big 3” label, Judge responded, “We’re a Big 9. We’re a big 26,” Judge said. “Everybody in this clubhouse, man, is a big part. I would never narrow it down to just one guy. Every guy is a stud in their own right. We’re a part of something special.”

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