“The story of our season”: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton lift the Yankees to a sweep in Boston and atop the Wild Card

This is the reality the New York Yankees envisioned when they acquired Giancarlo Stanton nearly four years ago. Pairing Stanton with Aaron Judge would give them two hulking home run hitters in the heart of their lineup; it was supposed to be those two feared hitters working in tandem to power the Yankees offense into contention year after year.

On Sunday night in Boston, Judge and Stanton combined to give the Yankees their most dramatic and impressive win of the season. Trailing by a run with two on in the top of the eighth inning, Judge turned on a fastball from Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino and ripped a long double into a center-field gap at Fenway Park to score two and give the Yankees the lead. Standing off second base — after dislocating and resetting his left pinkie finger after sliding into the bag — Judge stared up in the air while Stanton sent a hanging slider over the Green Monster.

Judge’s double came off the bat at 118.4 miles per hour; Stanton’s home run was measured at 116.4 mph, a modest figure for him.

The Yankees went from a late-game deficit to a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox, which completed a three-game sweep and gave them a one-game advantage for the first slot in the wild-card race with six games to go.

Stanton homered in all three games of the weekend series in Boston, going 7-for-12 (.583) with three home runs and a double. He drove in 10 runs and struck out only three times.

The list of Yankees to hit 3 HR and drive in 10 runs in a series at Fenway Park?

  1. Giancarlo Stanton

That’s it, that’s the list.

Judge went just 2-for-11 with two walks and three RBI. But both hits were doubles, and his hit Sunday night was the most impactful play of the game as measured by Statcast’s measurement of win probability added.

The Yankees have played 156 games this season, sitting at 89-67 with one week to go. They’ve had Judge for 142 of those games, with his only stint on an injured list coming due to a case of COVID-19. Stanton has been in 133 games this season, missing 13 games due to a quadriceps strain early in the season.

Judge is hitting .284/.370/.533 this season with 36 home runs — a 146 wRC+, fourth-highest in the AL. Stanton is hitting .277/.359/.520 with 34 home runs — a 139 wRC+, ninth-best in the AL. According to Katie Sharp of Stathead, Judge’s seven go-ahead hits in the eighth inning or later of games this season leads all of MLB.

Not much has gone to plan for the Yankees this season, but Judge and Stanton putting together excellent, healthy seasons with well-timed hot streaks at the end of the year is about as ideal as it gets for the late-season Bombers. The spark they’ve created to help light the Yankees’ path back toward the postseason has been brilliant, even if there’s a chance this moment will be brief.

Or, as the Yankees demonstrated in their postseason-like series against Boston, they may ultimately be able to rise to the high-pressure challenges that they’ll face if they secure a wild-card spot in the span of their final six games of the regular season.

But for now and through the off day on Monday the Yankees can take sigh of relief as they went into Boston two games out of the top wild card spot, and are now one game up on Boston for the 1st place wild card. With their sweep of Boston, the Yankees fully hold their own destiny down there stretch with 3 games in Toronto before finishing up the season back in the Bronx for a 3 game set vs Tampa Bay.

If Judge and Stanton continue to lead the charge there is no reason to think the Yankees aren’t a real threat to make a deep postseason run. They’re that dangerous at their best.

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