Look. Did Aaron Judge have the 2023 season of his dreams after setting the AL (and Yankees) record by hitting 62 home runs in 2022? Of course not. He ran toe-first into a concrete slab in Dodger Stadium, and his multi-month injury might've been the primary factor in keeping the Yankees out of the 2023 postseason.
But he delivered a powerhouse middle finger on Friday to all those who believed he'd "never be the same again" following his catastrophic foot injury. You know. The doomers who hopped into the comments of every three-strikeout game to diagnose his maladies from behind their keyboard. The WebMD-trained podiatrists who didn't like his gait or his gallop and predicted eight more contract years of winter like negative groundhogs.
Judge certainly did fall into a prolonged slump between his first career three-homer game (Aug. 23) and the end of September, and it was fair to question why he was still playing out the string as the Yankees' tragic number drew ever closer.
On Friday, though, he turned recent positive signs into a full-fledged explosion, rocking a double in the first, then following it with three consecutive homers.
Yankees Captain Aaron Judge slugs second career three-home run game (and also his second in a month)
Yeah, not sure the Arizona Diamondbacks -- mired in the thick of the NL Wild Card race -- were terribly excited to see Judge post the second three-homer game of his career, as well as his second such game since the end of August. But, hey, that's showbiz! Want to play in October? Then you should probably stop giving up home runs to Aaron Judge. Again and again and again.
He now ranks -- hilariously -- tied for third in the AL with 35 home runs, knotted with Adolis Garcia of the Rangers in 39 fewer games played.
Judge's contract may yet "age poorly," but the doomsayers who seemed to be excited to pronounce his career dead a few weeks ago might want to check back in on the latest box scores. The Captain effortlessly powered out a trio of Judgian blasts on Friday against a team that certainly wasn't handing it to him: one to the deep bleachers in right, one to the porch, and one laser to the second deck.
And thus, he became the first Yankee ever to have multiple three-homer games in a single season. Yup. Washed. But only in the way a tidal wave washes a coastline. Complete annihilation.