From kind of a sad thing to kind of a crazy thing, all within a few days.
As Luke Voit’s World Turns, things are looking far better since the Yankees’ first baseman spoke his mind. After talking the talk, hobbling the walk is proving more than sufficient.
The Yankees swept past the Orioles in a Friday doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, 6-0 and 10-1, and Voit, starting both games at first base despite an unspecified left foot malady, contributed a first-inning single and scored a run in Game 1 before going berserk in Game 2, slugging a pair of three-run homers. His six RBI set a personal record, and the two round-trippers gave him 16 for the season, tying him with three-time Most Valuable Player Mike Trout for the major league lead entering the Angels’ game Friday.
“Where would be without him?” Aaron Boone asked.
“Just a complete hitter,” DJ LeMahieu, Voit’s offensive partner in crime during the injury absences of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, said of his teammate. “Goes the other way really well, hits the crap out of mistakes and you want him in big situations. … He’s on quite a roll right now.”
Consequently, so are the Yankees, having won three in a row in the wake of an awful, 5-15 stretch that concluded with a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Buffalo. Following that game, Voit called out his team in an unprecedented manner for him, saying, “We have to get back to what the New York Yankees are. I feel like teams aren’t really scared of us right now and it is kind of a sad thing because we are the New York Yankees and obviously the favorite to win the division this year, and that’s obviously gone away so we have to step it up.” He proceeded to opine that guys had lost their edge and were making mental errors.
“I think it was something that needed to be said, and I think this locker room took it and we ran with it. We’ve been playing good since,” said Voit, who then insisted he wasn’t taking credit for the turnaround. “It’s not a bad thing we went through that rut, because I think it shows that good teams have to figure out a way to get through it and we did. Even though it was very frustrating, this is a good time to get hot.”
For Voit, he is hot despite not being healthy, as indicated by the way he struggled to round the bases after his homers off Baltimore’s Asher Wojciechowski in the fourth and fifth innings. His left foot was heavily taped, and he wouldn’t get more precise in his description than calling it “a minor foot problem.”
“The foot’s been bothering me for the last couple of weeks. I just had to get it retaped. Little too much pressure in there,” he said. “I gotta be out here with the boys. I’ll do everything to grind through it. Do everything to help us win.”
Voit expressed humility at catching up to the future Hall of Famer Trout, saying, “It’s pretty cool man. The guy’s the face of baseball. Best player in the game. … It’s awesome.”
Asked who he was picking in the homer race, LeMahieu said, “Right now I’ve got Lukey for sure. The way he’s hitting mistakes, great at-bats, seems like he’s putting one out almost every game. He’s on quite a roll. It’s fun to watch.”
Watching and listening, it appears, the Yankees are following Voit’s lead.
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