Home News Gary Phillips: In Juan Soto, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees...

Gary Phillips: In Juan Soto, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees have a bludgeoning Big Three

SAN DIEGO – The Yankees knew they had a deadly duo when they acquired Juan Soto and paired him with Aaron Judge. But with Big G, the Bombers have a Big Three that even Kendrick Lamar can’t diss.

That terrifying trio — Soto, Judge and Giancarlo Stanton — put their full power on display Friday, ruining Yu Darvish’s night with three home runs that combined for 1,249 feet. All three bombs came in the third inning of the Yankees’ 8-0 series-opening win over the Padres.

“Electric! Fun. Definitely fun,” Soto said of the outburst, which came in the ex-Padre’s return to Petco Park. “It was very cool to see the guys coming through against a guy like that. It’s huge.”

Added Stanton: “Things escalated quick.”

Indeed they did, as Soto struck first and led the way with distance when he drilled Darvish’s sinker 423 feet at 107.9 mph. The two-run jack, pulled to right, made for Soto’s 14th dinger of the season and followed a mix of cheers and boos from his former fans.

“I’ve seen him do that for years against us with the Nationals and the Padres,” Judge said. “To get a chance to do that with him and be right behind him and have a front row seat, it’s special.”

With Judge going deep one batter later, the Yankees recorded back-to-back homers for the first time this year.

Judge hit a 104.9-mph solo shot to left that landed 409 feet away in the second deck. He now has 16 home runs. Only Houston’s Kyle Tucker and Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson have more with 17.

Then came Stanton’s trip to Petco’s Western Metal Supply Co. building in left. The 110.9 mph, two-run rocket was the Yankees’ hardest-hit home run of the night, and it traveled 417 feet for Stanton’s 13th home run.

It also elicited a jubilant reaction from Judge and Soto, who left the Yankees’ dugout with their arms raised and their eyes wide in disbelief.

“When Stanton hits the ball, it’s like a spectacle. Everyone is like, ‘Ahhhhh!’ He hit off the brick wall out there,” said Carlos Rodón, who logged six scoreless innings. “It’s always impressive to watch him hit a homer. Always and all jaw-dropping.”

While Rodón said he felt lucky to have Soto, Judge and Stanton on his side, Darvish found himself victimized by the three.

The righty entered the game with a 25-inning scoreless streak, and he had only allowed two home runs this season. Yet none of that mattered against the Yankees’ bludgeoning triad, which said it did plenty of homework on Darvish prior to the game.

“Our power really played today and took advantage of some mistakes,” Aaron Boone said. “It’s an impressive inning against that pitcher. Especially how he’s been throwing the ball coming in. So just a really good offensive performance there to kind of put that thing away pretty early.

“It was pretty awesome actually. You get those moments every now and then in the regular season that are, ‘Man, that was pretty cool.’”

With Friday’s game in the books, Soto, Judge and Stanton have combined for 43 longballs this season. That’s as many as the Blue Jays, Nationals, Rockies and Marlins have crushed.

The Rays, Cardinals, Tigers and White Sox have all hit less.

“Wow, that’s pretty cool,” Stanton said of those far weaker offenses. “That’s awesome. We got a lot more to go.”

That’s true, as the 2024 season is less than two months old.

However, the Yankees have to be thrilled with their top three sluggers.

Soto has been everything the team could have dreamed of and more. Judge has swiftly made concerns of a slow start a distant memory. And Stanton, the wild card of the bunch after two poor, injury-riddled seasons, has managed to stay healthy and mash after revamping his body and swing over the offseason.

“The best part is he’s just such a presence now in the middle of the order,” Boone said of Stanton, who hit .202 with a .286 OBP from 2022-2023. “You see that presence that he is in our lineup. Obviously, it’s tough having to navigate through Juan and Judgey and then [No. 4 hitter Alex Verdugo] there, but then G’s waiting there, and you know how dangerous he is. And he’s felt like that real threat to me every day he’s been in.”

It’s that Stanton resurgence that has allowed the Yankees to form their own Big Three. The term is commonly associated with the NBA, but there’s no arguing that the pinstripers posses one, too.

“We’ve got our own,” Stanton said after recalling how LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh teamed up with the Miami Heat.

“I love it,” Boone said in agreement. “Just excited that they’re all healthy and playing well.”

That’s not to say that the Yankees are just their Big Three. With the rotation dazzling and others contributing up and down a first-place roster, Judge wanted to make that clear.

“We’re a Big Nine,” said the captain, always one to downplay his own contributions. “We’re a Big 26. Everybody in this clubhouse is a big part. I would never narrow it down to just one guy. Every guy is a stud in their own right. We’re a part of something special.”

With that said, it’s hard to ignore what the Yankees’ trinity has achieved this season.

Just ask Soto, who shared lineups with the likes of Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. before joining forces with Judge and Stanton.

“They’ve got to be right at the top,” Soto said when asked how his newish teammates compare to those of the past. “Those guys are really talented. They know what they’re doing. They’ve been in the league for a while. They know how to approach anybody who gets on the mound, so I think they are right at the top.”


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