Yankees: Aaron Judge Has a 25th Birthday to Remember
Aaron Judge won’t soon forget his 25th birthday. It’s the night the Yankees rookie right fielder officially let the world know he has arrived.
Must of us can’t remember what we did on the day we turned 25 years of age. For Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, that won’t be a problem. There’s plenty of video evidence to prove just how amazing he was against the Boston Red Sox.
As a misty rain fell from the New England night sky, Judge, the AL Rookie of the Year front-runner, hit an opposite field two-run bomb off Rick Porcello to get the party started.
So what, if it was the first game that the 6-foot-7 behemoth ever played at storied Fenway Park — he showed no signs of jitters — shunning the allure of the Green Monster, as he dominated on both sides of the ball.
In the third inning, with a runner on second base — a weakly hit fly ball began drifting towards the right field seats. Judge, who has excellent speed for such a big man, picked up the flight of the ball and ran a long way towards the foul line before fearlessly barreling over the wall while outstretched to make a Derek Jeter-esque catch.
When asked by the New York Times about what was going through his mind during the play, Judge responded:
"“Honestly, I didn’t really think about it,” Judge said. “I just saw a ball I could get to and tried to do anything I could do to catch it. But once I fell into the stands, I didn’t really know what to do. Do I throw it from here? Do I have to step back on to the field?”"
Once Judge stood upright, and the umpires began deliberating about whether or not Judge made the catch, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
"“I was very concerned,” Girardi said. “I saw him get up — I felt better about it. But still I was a little bit concerned. It’s an important game, and he risked his body. He plays hard. You want your players to play hard, and you hope situations like this they don’t get hurt.”"
Continuing his overall impressive performance, Judge worked a sixth-inning walk after initially falling behind 0-2 in the count. He further displayed a heads up nature, taking second base on a wild pitch, before scoring on a Greg Bird base hit.
Judge, who reworked his approach in the offseason to minimize his high leg kick, has proved immediate results in his plate disciple, power stats and strikeout percentage.
In 64 at-bats this season, Judge’s .672 slugging percentage is second in the AL only to Mike Trout, while his seven home runs and 15 RBI lead all Yankees.
Equally impressive is the fact that Judge has only struck out 18 times, for a swing and miss percentage of 28. Obviously, it’s a work in progress. But when you take into account that teammates Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday have each whiffed 17 times a piece — you see my point.
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As a fan, it’s thrilling to watch a young player go all out for the sake of the team and city he represents across his chest. Perhaps he had a little extra motivation because it was his birthday. I prefer to think that Judge is just that good.