Aaron Judge wins the showdown despite Ohtani’s elite sprint to escape his throw

Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani are in action during the Yankees vs. Dodgers game in New York on June 9, 2024.
Inna Zeyger
Monday June 10, 2024

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In an electrifying showdown, New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge and Los Angeles Dodgers two-way star Shohei Ohtani engaged in a dramatic confrontation during the late innings of the Yankees’ 6-4 victory on Sunday night.

The highlight of this face-off occurred when Aaron Judge attempted to throw out Ohtani as he dashed home on a fly ball to right field. Despite his impressive effort, which saw him launch a throw clocked at 93.4 mph—just shy of his season’s fastest—Ohtani managed to slide in safely, cutting the Yankees’ lead to 5-4.

Statcast data underscored the elite performance of both players during the play. Ohtani sprinted at 29.4 feet per second, a speed categorized as elite in MLB, ultimately winning this particular duel. Aaron Judge threw the ball back to the home plate at 93.4 mph, his fastest this season.

However, Aaron Judge had his moment of redemption. In the bottom of the eighth inning, he hammered a hanging sweeper from reliever Yohan Ramírez into the stands. This home run, his MLB-leading 24th of the season, rocketed off his bat at 107.6 mph and traveled 434 feet, a distance that would be a home run in any MLB park.

Aaron Judge’s homer extended the Yankees’ lead to 6-4, providing closer Clay Holmes with enough cushion to secure the save, despite allowing two hits in the ninth inning. This victory prevented a sweep by the Dodgers and allowed Aaron Judge to outshine Ohtani in multiple facets of the game.

Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani had the most wide-eyed response when he saw Aaron Judge before the anticipated Yankees series in New York.

The clash between Aaron Judge and Ohtani highlighted the exceptional talent and competitiveness of two of baseball’s top stars, delivering a thrilling spectacle for fans. While direct confrontations between elite hitters are rare, this Sunday night battle served as a reminder of the excitement and drama that can unfold when superstars face off on the diamond.

Is his ejection behind Aaron Judge’s historic tear?

Aaron Boone argues with umpire after Aaron Judge is ejected in Yankees vs. Tigers game at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2024.

Yankees fans might owe MLB umpire Ryan Blakney a thank you for unintentionally sparking Aaron Judge’s extraordinary run since his first career ejection on May 4. That pivotal moment, when Blakney ejected Judge, seems to have ignited a fire in the Yankees captain, turning him into an unstoppable force at the plate.

Since that incident, Aaron Judge has been on a tear, leading the Yankees to the best record in the American League as of Monday. His stats in the 33 games following the ejection are astonishing, resembling video game numbers more than reality.

Aaron Judge currently leads the majors with 24 home runs and is on pace to hit 58 by season’s end. Even more impressive is his 4.9 fWAR, which not only tops all MLB players by a wide margin but also marks a dramatic increase from the 0.7 fWAR he had entering May.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge watches the ball go into the stands for a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 9, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

If Aaron Judge stays healthy, he is performing at a level unmatched by any other player in the game. His continued excellence could very well secure him another MVP award. Yankees fans can only hope his historic streak endures, with a nod to Ryan Blakney for inadvertently sparking this incredible run.

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