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Three Stars of Yankees Wild Card Game Win: Luke Voit, Aaron Judge, Dellin Betances

Wednesday’s Wild Card victory over the Oakland A’s was a culmination of everything the Yankees had wanted during their rough stretch in the dog days of summer.  They had great starting pitching from Luis Severino, clutch hits all around the lineup, and a dominant bullpen closing the door on a scrappy Oakland team.

The biggest question answered was whether or not the three guys the Yankees have relied upon could continue their success in the postseason.  The answer was a resounding yes, as Luke Voit, Aaron Judge, and Dellin Betances all played important roles in the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the A’s.

Aaron Judge

Where to start with Aaron Judge.  Judge is slowly cementing himself as a playoff stalwart.  He has four home runs in six playoff games, had two home runs and five RBI in the two Wild Card games he’s played in, and has continued to shine in the biggest moments.

No moment is too big for Aaron Judge, and he proved that once again on Wednesday when he ripped a Liam Hendriks’ fastball into the left field seats to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead.  With all the pressure in the world on the shoulders of the Yankees, Judge brushed it off and alleviated all that pressure with the booming shot.  He has become the face of the franchise and the leader in the clubhouse in just a few years, and look for it to continue going forward.

Luke Voit

Voit is also slowly cementing himself as something, although playoff stalwart may not be the word.  He’s more of a folk hero than anything else at this point, as he came from complete irrelevance to superstar in just a few months.  After being traded for Chasen Shreve from the Cardinals, Voit solidified his spot as the Yankees first baseman with an improbable run of 14 home runs in 32 games.

Voit became an even more unlikely hero on Wednesday when he broke the game open with what he thought was a three run homer.  It turned out to be a two run triple, as the ball hit off the top of the wall and trickled back into the outfield, but Voit scored anyway and was more fired up than most baseball players ever get in their career.  He’s continued on this “Shane Spencer” path since his second stint in the majors began with the Yankees, and he doesn’t want this ride to end anytime soon.

Voit has been such a breath of fresh air because of his youthful exuberance.  The Yankees need a personality like his because a guy like that keeps the clubhouse loose.  If he’s having fun, everyone is having fun.  Voit isn’t just a great player, he’s a great clubhouse guy.  Without him, no one is sure where the Yankees would be.

Dellin Betances

What a difference a year makes.  Dellin Betances went from lame duck reliever last season to Wild Card game hero.  The Yankees won this game because of Betances’ excellent work in the fifth and sixth innings.  Betances stranded two runners that Luis Severino left on in the fifth and was able to pitch a scoreless sixth.

Betances was rarely used in high leverage situations last season but has become a favorite of Aaron Boone.  His confidence must be at an all time high because of that performance, and he looks to have full control of all his pitches once again.

When Betances is on, he is one of the toughest pitchers to face in the league.  He has a deadly breaking ball and a nasty fastball.  The New York Yankees will need him in more high leverage situations this postseason, and it’s nice to see Betances back to where he needs to be.

Once again, without these three Yankees, this team wouldn’t be in the position it’s currently in.  Judge, Voit, and Betances have shown that regardless of where you come from, anything is possible.

Whether it be a high level prospect, an unknown first baseman in the minors, or a struggling reliever, if you have confidence in yourself you’ll be able to deliver.  These three have delivered over and over again for the Yankees.

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