Aaron Judge is the greatest show in the world, so of course he was going to put on a memorable play in the bottom of the ninth, with a bat swing that brought the whole city to a halt and gave it new meaning. to the order”. everyone gets up.”
Everybody had to get up and watch and wait for the story to land on the other side of the center field wall. But first, Judge had a point to prove in the top of the inning. He gathered the rebound in the right-field corner and showed the world why he’s so much more than a hulking strongman throwing baseballs to the moon.
He threw a perfect on-the-fly shot to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the last frozen string, and what would have been Tommy Pham’s opening double came down to the first out. Judge was supposed to tie and possibly break a home run record Thursday night, and instead he helped break the Red Sox with his arm.
He’s going to beat you with doubles and a walk here, and three walks and a wacky pitch there. But Aaron Judge is going to help his team beat you one way or another, even when he doesn’t do what the crowd paid to see him do.
The No. 99 Yankees returned to the playoffs with this 5-4 win punctuated by Josh Donaldson’s game-winning hit in the 10th. “We’re in The Dance and now we have a chance,” manager Aaron Boone said.
His best shot is embodied by Judge, who didn’t let his “failure” to match even Roger Maris’ magical 61-home run season in 1961 stop him from trying to win a game in a completely different way than his old turf, right field, the home office of another great man who once hit 60 home runs in one season, a guy named Babe.
Until Judge tried to beat him the old-fashioned, Routine way, from the batter’s box in the ninth.
With one out and no one in in a 4-4 game, and with Stadium fans alternating between the noise of jet engines and the silence of confessionals between pitches, Judge sent a 2-2 four-seam high and deep in the dark night. The crack of the bat, the majestic flight path to dead center, the roar of the crowd and the call of the TV announcer made everything perfect.
Except for the ending. The 404-foot shot fell less than half a dozen feet away.
“What a great at-bat,” Boone said. “I thought it would be quite eye-catching to leave it in Monument Park there.”
Judge knew he had gotten a bit under the hood and was not going to survive the cold and windy conditions. Then what would have been one of the most dramatic home runs in Yankees history suddenly became one of the most impressive fly balls anyone has ever seen.
It didn’t help the home team win this game, but damn, that pitch from right field did.
“That’s what MVPs do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
Everything you need to know about Aaron Judge and his chase for the home run record:
Judge had spent a lot of quality time in center, yet he handled Pham’s shot into the wall like he’d played every game this year on the right. He settled under the high jump. He didn’t rush the play. He put a perfect spin on the pitch.
“You can tell he’s done it a million times,” Boone said.
Judge was not about to accept attacks for doing his job. “He was just trying to make a play like anybody else,” he said.
The truth is, Judge has never been just about chasing home run records. He entered the day hitting 74 points higher than the MLB average batting average. He steals bases. He accepts rides. He plays center field at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds. He works at his craft in right field, where he will spend the rest of his prime.
“He does everything very well,” Donaldson said. “He is a great ballplayer. He affects the game in many ways.”
Of course, Judge was dying to give the fans everything they wanted. Unfortunately, Michael Wacha is a smart, resourceful pitcher who has won 60 percent of his career starts and dominated Judge in his career matchups. Wacha walked Judge twice (the first time in four pitches) and mixed up a couple of juicy pitches to hit: a four-seam 2-2 in his second at-bat and a 1-1 cut in his third at-bat. . before striking him out in a changeup.
Red Sox reliever John Schreiber gave Judge his third walk in the seventh, before Anthony Rizzo grounded out for a double play. Hours earlier, Cora had claimed that the visitors had planned to take the fight to the heavyweight champion. “We have to attack him any way we think we can,” Cora said of Judge, “and the game will dictate what we do.”
And yet, in the end, the road strategy was clear: nibble at Judge a lot, surprise him with some manhood challenges, accept loud boos from the fans as the price of doing business, and hope the eventual walks set up a series of plays. double.
The plan almost worked. Almost.
The Yankees won because Aaron Judge reminded everyone that he is the best player in the game, long ball or not.
Source : nypost.com