This is the first homestand Isiah Kinner-Falefa has made to truly feel at home. The infielder was traded twice to Spring Training, ending up in Tampa without his cars or more baggage. While adjusting to new teammates was work in spring training, coming to New York was a completely different world.
But he feels comfortable in the end.
“When I’m driving to the ballpark, I’m able to get off the map,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I know where I’m going, so it feels good.”
You can see the difference. After starting the season 1-for-17 and tossing a few balls at shortstop, Kiner-Falefa has been a steady presence on defense and in the lineup. Despite his 15-game streak of arriving safely in Toronto and going 0-for-2 with a walk to the season high on Sunday, Kiner-Falefa is confident of where he is and how he fits in Is.
He has hit safely in 14 of his last 19 matches since April 14, including seven multi-hit games, batting .349, scoring 13 runs, five doubles, seven RBIs, six walks and two steals. Base included. He has reached base in 16 of his last 17 matches.
That came after starting the season 1-for-17.
“I wanted to make a good impression in New York,” Kinner-Falefa said. “I really wanted to do it right away. It was hard though.”
Simply settling in New York and finding her way to the ballpark was tough for Kinner-Falefa. He spent the lockdown unsure where he would play. Rangers had signed Corey Seeger and Marcus Semien, so he thought he would probably be a third baseman, but there was no concrete confirmation from Rangers until the labor disagreement was settled. Then she was dealt with by the twins.
“I was going to spring training in Arizona and the twins had an early season stop in Dallas, so I figured I’d leave my (winter) clothes at home and pick them up when the twins arrived,” Kinner-Falefa said. said. “But then I traded again and I really didn’t have much clothes. I had some Lululemon stuff. I didn’t have an apartment. And I really didn’t know where I was going.
“Thanks to my girlfriend and the Yankees, we figured it out and I’m really happy to be here.”
Now, Kiner-Falefa is making a good impression with New York and Yankees fans. He is in the 83rd percentile below average at shortstop, which is a huge improvement from last year. That’s .288/.337/.363 with seven RBIs and two stolen bases.
This weekend, Kiner-Falefa admitted that this series was another point he wanted to make a big impact on when facing the Rangers. He may have put pressure on Sunday, but he still stayed on base twice.
“I want to beat them, it’s all about the competition,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I want to bury them. I mean I’m grateful they traded me and gave me a chance to play for my dream team. They could have kept me and I could have been last, but I want to beat them.” .