On May 19, the Texas Rangers released Matt Carpenter from their Triple-A team because they could not find a place for him on their big-league roster. The decision was described as mutual, and while Carpenter opted out of his deal with Rangers, there was no guarantee he would ever step onto a big league turf again.
“When I was sitting on that couch, I thought, ‘This could be it,'” Carpenter said of the period between leaving the Rangers and joining the Yankees. “That’s part of why it was so much fun living here. It’s like a new lease on life.”
On Saturday, he set the Bronx on fire with a pair of three-run home runs, giving the Yankees a 14-1 win over the Red Sox. Not only did Carpenter put two balls to the wall and seven RBIs into the scorebook, he got a curtain call from fans and a big ovation from the bleachers every time he took his place in right field. When he had to settle for a base-loaded walk in the eighth inning, many fans made their way to the exit, perhaps feeling like they had been robbed of the chance to see something even more cosmic.
Carpenter’s transformation, in the literal sense of the word, has been incredible. This is a man who not only couldn’t crack the roster of a medium Rangers team (though it failed to unlock what the Yankees have on the Rangers), he’s also someone who scored seven home runs for the Cardinals. Hit with .176. between 2020 and 2021.
He now has seven home runs in July 2022 alone.
“I’ve played long enough to know how hard the game is,” Carpenter said. “I try not to think about it too much. But a moment like tonight, I’ll remember that forever. A curtain call at this stadium with these fans is pretty special.”
It takes a lot for someone at Pinstripe to beat Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium the way Carpenter did. Carpenter’s second long ball of the night came in fifth. An innings later, as if he was trying to direct the spotlight back to him, the judge began his second night.
“I think the fans are liking him more than me,” the judge smiled. “I’m a little jealous there. He’s getting curtain calls! It’s awesome. It’s fun to watch.”
Still, everyone in the sold-out crowd was wrapped in a carpenter’s finger. The latest Yankee Creed hero has hit multiple homers in 15% of games launched for the Yankees. It was the second time this season that Carpenter had hit a seven-run stand, placing him in a class where Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are Other members only,
The list of incredible feats goes on for Carpenter, who now has 20 bombers and three two-homer days. When the judge hit the back wall of the Red Sox’s bullpen on the second night, he equaled Roger Maris for the most home runs by a Yankee (33) before the All-Star break. If the judge has another multi-homer game this year—almost certainty judging by how well he’s swinging the bat—he’ll be Gleber Torres (2019), Alex Rodriguez (2007), Mickey Mantle (1961) and Ruth (1927).
Saturday was the second time this year that the Yankees entered the yard twice in the same game, joining Carpenter and Kyle Higashioka on June 12. The judge also broke a tie with Jason Giambi for most multiple-homer games in Yankee history, putting a no. .99 in the sole possession of the sixth place.
While it is not historic, and is believed to have been cherry-picked, Jameson Tallon also became only the fourth pitcher to put this line together this year: six innings with five or more strikeouts, no walks, Run or less without throwing two hits or less and one earned 80 pitches.
Now you can forget all those headache-inducing stats (There’s nothing else to do during a 14-1 laugh.) Simply put, everything went right for the Yankees. Much of the narrative surrounding the team this week has focused on hitting its first pits of the season. The Yankees lost their previous series to the Cincinnati Reds, who are bottom-up, and sent both Luis Severino and Miguel Castro to the injured list while Judge suffered a mini 4-for-29 meltdown.
Oh how quickly things can change in this game. You’ve already read what Carpenter and Judge did, and the rest of the hitters did more than enough to make the troubled bullpen a non-issue on Saturday. By posting ten places in the first six innings, manager Aaron Boone was able to use only a low-leverage reliever, resting the crucial ones for Sunday’s rubber match.
“We were against it in many ways today,” Boone said. “The guilt of being able to do that kind of work was enormous.”
Ryan Webber took over the hill after Tylon. He cut the final three innings to earn his first MLB save, which must have been one of the least stressful since he became an official stat.
“The ability to control the ball is his calling card,” Boone said of Webber. “That’s what you like to see when you send someone out with a big lead.”
A note to the Yankees for the future: Whenever things start to get a little bad, just team up two guys for four home runs and ten RBIs, while the starting pitcher turns in one of the most efficient performances anyone can ever get. Have also enjoyed the whole year.