Game Day

Despite loss, Holliday continues to be most clutch hitter in lineup

SEATTLE – The New York Yankees were on the cusp of solidifying their first series win since June 11th, but fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Seattle Mariners, 6-5 in 10 innings. In the midst of a tough loss, one player stood out more than anyone: Matt Holliday continues to be the most clutch bat in the Yankees’ lineup.

At 37-years-old and batting .242 on the season, Holliday is a player that many overlook – especially with the season that rookie Aaron Judge is having. However, the wily veteran provides clutch at-bats when the Yankees need him the most, which is why he will be such a valuable asset come playoff time.

In Saturday night’s loss to Seattle, the Yankees trailed 5-4 heading into the top half of the eighth inning. Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge all found their way on base with one out in the inning when Holliday made his way to the plate. Instead of trying to rip a go-ahead grand slam or base hit, the 37-year-old ensured that the run would score from third base by hitting a deep sacrifice fly to right field.

Including Saturday night’s game, Holliday has hit a game-tying/go-ahead run in seven games this season. He trails only Judge (7) and Gardner (7) in game winning runs batted in this season while playing nearly 20 less games than both of them. Holliday’s six GWRBI ranks second in the American League East for players who have played in less than 80 games — (Tim Beckham is first with seven).

APRIL 27: Chris Sale bested by Holliday at Fenway

Masahiro Tanaka threw a gem for the Yankees when they played Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox. The only player to have success off of Sale was Holliday, as he hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning and delivered an insurance run in the ninth with a single to left field, pushing the Yankees’ lead to 2-0. The Bronx Bombers went on to win this game by a score of 3-0, largely in part to Holliday’s clutch bat.

APRIL 28: The walk-off three run home run vs. Baltimore

Tied at 11-11 in the 10th inning, Holliday launched a game-winning three run home run to give the Yankees a thrilling victory after trailing by eight runs earlier on in the game.

MAY 19: Holliday knots things up at the Trop

Heading into the top of the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays the Yankees trailed 4-2 before Holliday blasted a game-tying two-run home run off of Ryne Stanek. The Yankees went on to lose this game, but Holliday showed that his bat matters most in late innings and crucial situations.

MAY 27: Go-ahead two-run homer proves decisive in Yankees’ victory

After Ryon Healy tied things up at 1-1 for the Oakland Athletics in the top half of the sixth inning, Holliday responded with a huge two-run home run off of Jharel Cotton – a decisive blast that led to a Yankees’ victory.

Holliday scorched a pitch off of Jharel Cotton in the sixth inning to push the Yankees ahead.

JUNE 21: Another go-ahead homer against the Halos

Martin Maldonado launched a two-run homer off of Jordan Montgomery in the top of the fourth inning, knotting the score at 2-2. In the bottom half of the fifth, Holliday responded with a solo shot to right field, which proved to be the decisive run in the Yankees’ 8-4 victory.

JULY 15: Holliday hits 100 MPH heater over the Monster to force extras

With the Yankees marred in one of their worst slumps this season and trailing 1-0 in the ninth inning, Holliday stepped up to the plate against one of the best closers in the game, Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel tried pumping a fastball by the veteran Holliday but the 37-year-old turned on the pitch and tied the game at 1-1 for the Yankees in what, ultimately, would result in a victory.

WHAT TO EXPECT GOING FORWARD:

For all we know, Holliday could have had more clutch hits if a body infection in June did not plague him. This is a player that is going to be pivotal in the Yankees’ success down the stretch. If the Yankees ever need a batter to come up in a vital situation, all confidence should be in Holliday to deliver a big hit. He is hitting 19-for-61 with RISP this season along with 36 RBIs so he gets the job done at a .311 clip.

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