While big-name acquisitions like Joey Gallo have been struggling for the New York Yankees during their losing streak, superstar outfielder Aaron Judge is one player that doesn’t necessarily deserve to be associated with the rest of his underperforming squad, as he’s been as rock-solid as ever.
In addition to his usual Gold Glove defense, Judge came into a very emotional game against the New York Mets on September 11 hitting .292, which would be his highest career batting average, to go along with 30 home runs.
While the Yankees got off to a hot start by launching three home runs, including Judge’s 31st of the year, against struggling Mets starter Taijuan Walker, the Yankees went completely silent until the eighth inning, as the Mets’ bullpen silenced New York’s bats. That’s where Judge comes in.
Judge blasted his 32nd home run of the year deep into the night, taking Mets pitcher Trevor May deep just days after he complained about Yankee Stadium’s home run propensity. What a delicious bit of irony. Judge’s two-run shot helped tie the game at seven, and Luke Voit gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead with an RBI single.
Aaron Judge helped bail the Yankees out tonight.
Judge has had some issues staying healthy in the past, but he has been able to suit up for 128 games after this evening. Considering how the offense around has been such unwatchable dreck, New York need someone with his thunder and propensity for coming through down the stretch.
Judge not only leads the team in long balls after serving as their most consistent offensive player all year long, but he became the second-fastest hitter in MLB history to crank 150 long balls. Only Ryan Howard was able to reach 150 in fewer games, as Judge passed names like Eddie Mathews, Ralph Kiner, and Albert Pujols.
Oh, and he saved the Yankees’ bacon again in the ninth inning with a nice diving catch. He’ll do that every now and again.
This Yankees win was fraught with many of the usual problems that have hampered this team of late. The offense around No. 99 went several innings without a runner, and Aroldis Chapman danced in and out of danger in what was another nervous ninth inning. The problems are far from fixed.
However, Judge looks ready to keep parking fly balls into the seats in clutch situations. As long as the Yankees have a failsafe like that to lean on when the chips are down, you can’t fully eliminate them from their playoff picture.