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Tyler Wade might be the one Baby Bomber you’ve never heard of – Yankees Blog

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TAMPA, Fla. — Soon, Tyler Wade will become one of the New York Yankees‘ two starting second basemen.

Yes, two.

According to manager Aaron Boone, the 23-year-old — who flew under the radar as a rookie last season — will be sharing duties at the position with recently signed veteran Neil Walker.

“I’m excited. It’s a dream come true for me,” said Wade, who grew up emulating Derek Jeter. “But now the work just starts.”

Some reading this might be happy for Wade, but it’s likely they’re also pondering one key question: Who the heck is he?

A player with just 0.081 years of major league service, Wade could find himself in New York’s starting lineup as soon as Opening Day in Toronto, though with left-hander J.A. Happ slated to be on the mound, it’s likely the lefty-swinging Wade won’t make his first start until the season’s second game.

Die-hard Yankees fans entered spring training knowing the names Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar quite well. The prized infield prospects, both represented among Keith Law’s Top 100, held the early hype as the team began replacing second baseman Starlin Castro, traded to the Miami Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton deal, and third baseman Todd Frazier, who left as a free agent.

Despite a strong spring at the plate for Andujar, veteran Brandon Drury — acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the start of spring training — won the third-base job when Andujar was optioned to Triple-A on Sunday. (The Yankees are keeping an eye on Drury, though, who left Friday’s game after being hit by a pitch on his left elbow. X-Rays came back negative, but the swelling is an early concern.)

Five weeks ago, Torres seemed to have the inside track on the second-base job. But an inconsistent spring, coupled with Walker’s signing and Wade’s routine standout performances, resulted in a platoon that doesn’t include the team’s top prospect.

Torres has batted .179 (5-for-28) with three doubles and nine strikeouts this spring. In 19 games, Wade has batted .286 (12-for-42) with three doubles, a triple and eight walks.

“It looks to me that there’s a little more in [Wade] swinging the bat than maybe I anticipated,” Boone said. “The organization kind of raved about him and his range in the field, and what he brings on the base paths. That’s actually surpassed my expectations too.”

Noted for his speed, Wade’s wheels helped him find a home in the Yankees’ organization as a fourth-round 2013 draft pick. And his baserunning savvy might keep him in the regular rotation all season long.

“He’s got a good clock. He has a knack for, the few times he’s taken the extra bases, where I’ve gone, ‘What’s he doing?’ And then he understands his speed,” Boone said. “He seems to be a very instinctual player.

“There’s been a couple plays defensively where I’m looking for someone else to make the play, and there he is. Just with his athleticism, and the ability to have that range out in the field, he’s done a lot of things really well that get you excited.”

Wade said his extra-base instincts are the byproduct of paying attention to Yankees veterans Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

“Watching Gardy, watching Ells in their prime, their aggressiveness shows they’re always looking to take the extra base,” Wade said. “You can always shut it down, but you can’t pick it up. In my mind, I always try to take the extra base, but if I have to, I can shut it down.”

Wade also credits his work with Yankees baserunning instructor and first base coach Reggie Willits. Before joining the big league club this year, Willits spent the previous three seasons in the Yankees farm system, honing minor leaguers’ baserunning techniques. His group was successful in 70.3 percent of its collective stolen-base attempts during his tenure — and Wade was one of Willits’ attentive pupils.

“He’s turned me into a baserunner, if that kind of makes sense,” Wade said. “I know when to go and when not to go, and kind of switching my mind if I’m trying to steal a base, and locking in on the ball to see if I can take an extra base.”

Gardner believes Wade has caught the coaching staff’s attention primarily because he has had more chances this spring.

“We’re getting to see him play more,” Gardner said. “There’s more opportunities for him to get on the field and get at-bats. He’s been swinging the bat well, so he’s been getting on base — and opportunities to run.

“He’s done a good job of getting on base and done a good job of being aggressive, and I know the more pressure we can put on the defense, no matter what way we do it, the tougher it makes their job to navigate our lineup.”

Wade’s introduction to all things Yankees actually came about a decade ago, when the Californian trekked with one of his travel teams to Cooperstown, New York, for a tournament. As part of their trip, Wade and his teammates made it to the Bronx, where they visited the old Yankee Stadium, and Wade saw Jeter play live for the first time.

“I saw Derek do the jump-throw, and ever since then, me and my buddy, we’d always play whiffle ball and I’d always imitate Derek,” Wade said.

So what does Wade want you to know about him?

“That I’m always having a fun time. I’m that way on the field, but I’m also an extreme competitor,” Wade said, again emulating the Captain. “I’m a perfectionist, but I like to have a good time, and you’ll always see a smile on my face.”

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Los Angeles Dodgers clinch NL’s top seed, 8th straight division title

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LOS ANGELES — Corey Seager had three hits, including one of Los Angeles’ four home runs, as the Dodgers clinched the National League’s top postseason seed and eighth straight West title Tuesday night with a 7-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

The Dodgers, who own the best record in the majors at 39-16, were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth on Sept. 16. They will open postseason play on Sept. 30 by hosting every game in a best-of-three series against the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles came into the day with a magic number of two and got help with the Angels’ 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and A.J. Pollock also went deep for Los Angeles, which leads the majors with 104 home runs.

Dustin May went five innings and allowed two runs on three hits. The 22-year-old red-headed righty set a team record by not allowing more than three earned runs in his first 13 career starts, which include 10 this season.

Seager tied it at 1 in the first with an RBI single and then led off the fifth with a drive to center off T.J. McFarland to extend LA’s lead to 6-2.

Muncy gave the Dodgers a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer. Taylor and Pollock extended it with solo shots in the fourth off Oakland starter Frankie Montas.

Cody Bellinger added two hits for the Dodgers, including an RBI single with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before first pitch due to left hamstring discomfort.He came off the injured list on Sept. 15 and has not played in the field since Aug. 28.

Joc Pederson was in the lineup at DH after missing five games while on the family emergency medical list. Manager Dave Roberts said before the game that he wasn’t sure if Pederson will remain with the team during the entire postseason.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Marcell Ozuna, Braves beat Miami, clinch 3rd straight NL East title

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Bryse Wilson pitched five scoreless innings, Marcell Ozuna drove in five runs with four hits that included two homers and the Atlanta Braves clinched their third straight NL East title by beating the Miami Marlins 11-1 on Tuesday night.

Atlanta hit five homers, including drive by Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman off Nick Vincent in a five-run seventh. Freeman drove in two runs with three hits.

After Jorge Alfaro lined out to Freeman to end the game, Braves players hugged on the field and exchanged high-fives in the dugout.

Wilson (1-0) allowed three hits and one walk, striking out a career-high seven. It was an unexpected showing by the 22-year-old right-hander, who had a 7.04 ERA in four relief outings and had been at the team’s alternate training site until Monday. He had not started since July 16 last year at Milwaukee.

Atlanta clinched its record 20th division title, one more than the New York Yankees. The Braves won 14 straight in completed seasons from 1991-2005 but have not won a postseason series since 2001 and have not won a championship since 1995.

Miami remained in position to earn its first playoff berth since winning the 2003 World Series.

Ozuna hit a first-inning homer off Jose Urena (0-3), who allowed four runs in six innings. Ozzie Albies homered in the second, and Ozuna added a two-run double in the fifth and drove in Freeman with a 450-foot homer to center field in the eighth.

Manager Brian Snitker said the Braves were prepared for a low-key celebration, due to social distancing rules in the pandemic. He said Major League Baseball “pretty much restricted all that” due to space constraints in the clubhouse.

“I think we go in and air high-five to everybody,” Snitker said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Chicago Cubs lose 3-2 to Pittsburgh Pirates but still clinch playoff berth

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The Chicago Cubs are in the postseason for the fifth time in six years, clinching a spot on Tuesday night despite losing 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It’s David Ross’ first trip to the postseason in his first season as the Cubs’ manager.

“It’s nice,” Ross said after the game. “Super proud. Thankful for the group I have. It’s very rewarding for that group in there that’s put in the hard work in a unique atmosphere.”

The Cubs got off to a fast start, winning 13 of their first 16 games to take command in the National League Central, where they’ve been in first place since the season opener. Their success has been tied to their pitching staff, which ranks third in ERA in the National League.

But Chicago’s offense has slumped since the quick beginning to the season. The Cubs rank 22nd in OPS and are hitting under .200 against left-handed pitching.

“It’s a lot of credit to us for not being in sync the whole year and grinding through and getting wins,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s a full team effort and that’s what it’s going to take to be the last team standing.”

The Cubs have a history of making the postseason after changing managers. In 2003, Dusty Baker led the Cubs to a division title in his first season; Lou Piniella did the same in 2007. Joe Maddon also made it to the playoffs in 2015, his first season at the helm. Ross was a player on that 2015 team.

“There is so much to be proud of and thankful for from my seat,” Ross said. “They came in ready to summer camp and it showed.”

In the coming days, the Cubs are in good position to clinch their third division title since 2016 and host the first round of the playoffs at Wrigley Field, where they produced the lowest batting average in history there this season (.210). But Chicago features several October tested starters, including Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. And many of the core players are still there from when the team won the World Series in 2016.

“To be one of the playoff teams is very exciting,” Rizzo said. “It’s something that we’re going to not take for granted because this is not easy.

“It’s [the playoffs] a whole different beast. It’s a different game. It’s a different vibe.”

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