“It was nice kind of pointing to a couple of them up in the stands as I ran the bases,” Frazier said. “Felt pretty good. I got a lot of text messages and emails and phone calls right now. It’s very exciting. We knew we needed this one.”
The home run gave the Yankees an early three-run lead en route to an 8-1 win in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks now trail, 2-1, in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s a dream come true,” Frazier said of playing for the Yankees in a postgame interview on FS1. “The opportunities are endless here in New York. The fans are unbelievable, as you can see they’re still here going crazy. I love these kind of people. These are my kind of guys and girls here. We keep it straight-forward, and we’re not afraid to say what we feel like. At the end of the day, that’s why I fit so well in here.”
While it barely cleared the fence, Frazier did hit the ball hard, as it had an exit velocity of 100.5 mph, according to Statcast™. It had a low launch angle of 21 degrees and traveled a projected 365 feet. But balls with that specific combination of exit velocity and launch angle go for home runs just six percent of the time, according to Statcast™, so Frazier used the short porch in right to his advantage.
“It looked like it was going to be a fly ball or a short line drive to me,” said Reddick, who thought Frazier had hit it off the end of the bat. “It was one of those things where freak things happen. I’m not going to call it an ugly swing, because it wasn’t. It worked out being great for him. It’s just one of those things where it works out his favor, short porch in right.”
— MLB (@MLB) October 17, 2017
The pitch was 1.54 feet off the ground when Frazier made contact, and that is tied for the third-lowest pitch hit for a homer by a Yankee this season. The lowest was an offering 1.36 feet off the ground that Starlin Castro golfed for a homer on Sept. 7.
“It was an awkward swing,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Obviously a strong man, right place in the ballpark. The ball popped off his bat. I was surprised that ball went out, only because of his swing type.”
“I didn’t think it was that bad of a pitch,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “We’ve been on the other side of that. We think he made a good pitch, and the guy hits it out of the ballpark. He went to right field. There’s an advantage to going to right field here and it paid off.”
It was the first career postseason homer for Frazier, who had an RBI ground-rule double in Game 2 and has played in 14 career postseason games. The three-run shot provided more runs than the Yankees scored combined in Games 1 and 2.
“It’s 10 times different,” Frazier said of these playoffs compared to his previous two postseason appearances with the Reds. “Different for me because I was a bench guy coming in with Cincinnati. Atmosphere is great, but there’s nothing like it here in New York. The fans are great. I wish everybody could feel basically what I’m going through.”