NEW YORK -- Before Friday night's 6-1 win over the Rays, Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner told Aaron Judge that he was going to catch him in home runs. For a brief moment, he started to close in.Gardner has 19 home runs after hitting one to lead off Friday's game
NEW YORK -- Before Friday night's 6-1 win over the Rays, Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner told Aaron Judge that he was going to catch him in home runs. For a brief moment, he started to close in.
Gardner has 19 home runs after hitting one to lead off Friday's game and a walk-off shot to win Thursday's contest vs. the Rays. But he's still 14 homers shy of Judge, who hit his 33rd in the fourth inning, tying Giancarlo Stanton for the Major League lead.
The third Yankee outfielder, Clint Frazier, joined the party an inning later when he cracked a monstrous three-run blast in the fifth that went 455 feet, according to Statcast™. It was the sixth-longest Yankees home run this season, behind three from Judge and one each from Matthew Holliday and Ji-Man Choi, who is now in Triple-A.
Judge's homer had an exit velocity of 111.6 mph and traveled 397 feet, while Frazier's left the bat at 111 mph, according to Statcast™. The Yankees now have 30 home runs with an exit velocity of at least 110 mph, which is the most for any team in Major League Baseball.
Gardner's first-inning home run had an exit velocity of 104 mph and traveled a projected 398 feet to right-center field -- nearly identical to his walk-off home run from the night before, according to Statcast™. The walk-off was hit 105 mph and went 392 feet.
"Usually when I'm involved, that keeps the outfield from accomplishing something like that," said Gardner of all three Yankee outfielders hitting home runs. "This year, I've managed to hit a few. … It's a lot of fun to be out there in the outfield with those two guys."
Around his teammates, though, Gardner isn't as modest about his power surge this season, as evidenced by his comment to Judge that he was going to hit as many homers as the 25-year-old rookie phenom.
"He hit that leadoff home run," Frazier said. "Then Judge had to put him to sleep right after that and just add on to the million that he's already got."
Both Judge and Stanton also have the most homers hit at 110-plus mph, according to Statcast™.
Including one from last season, Judge now has 19 career homers clocked at 110-plus mph, which is the fourth most since Statcast™ was since first introduced for the 2015 season. Judge, a rookie, didn't take his first MLB at-bat until Aug 13. 2016.
Following Frazier's homer in the fifth, which manager Joe Girardi said gave his team "breathing room," the Yankees have now had six players hit a homer of at least 110 mph this season, which is tied for the most of any team. The other five Yankees to do so are Judge, Holliday, Choi, Gary Sanchez and Christopher Austin.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.