Aaron Judge’s MVP-like pace, Rizzo’s energy turning Yankees fortune

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo led the Yankees to victory against the Reds at Great American Ballpark on May 20, 2023.

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In the last two weeks, the Yankees are on a roll and Aaron Judge, their captain, leads the turnaround from the front. His red-hot form strikes fear among opponents and approaching the Yankees’ power hitter with a pitch carries inherent jeopardy for their pitchers. Aaron Judge’s best friend Anthony Rizzo stands rock solid and is always ready to step in as the Yankees’ saving grace in tough times.

With the duo in the lineup, the Yankees have managed to maintain a sense of consistency. Following their noteworthy performance on Friday, both Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo once again showcased their prowess on Saturday, propelling the Yankees to a 7-4 triumph in a tense 10-inning contest.

Saturday witnessed the Yankees duo delivering a formidable combination to the Reds, unleashing their most potent offensive barrage when the victory was at stake. Initially, Aaron Judge struck with a resounding blow, swiftly followed by an emphatic knockout punch dealt by Anthony Rizzo in front of 41,374 at Great American Ball Park.

Despite trailing by three runs after the initial four innings, the Yankees staged an impressive comeback, clinching a hard-fought 7-4 victory in the tense duration of ten innings. In a pivotal moment, Aaron Judge seized the opportunity and delivered a crucial hit that propelled the Yankees into the lead. Anthony Rizzo followed it with his 11th home run of the season, a resounding two-run strike to the right, firmly establishing a three-run advantage for the team.

Although Aaron Judge did not achieve another home run after an extraordinary streak of seven consecutive games, he showcased his batting prowess with an impeccable performance at the plate, going a flawless 4-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored.

Concluding the day, Anthony Rizzo’s statistics stood at an impressive 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Serving as the formidable second and third batters in the lineup, Aaron Judge and Rizzo have emerged as the driving force behind the Yankees’ recent success. With victories in five of their last six games and an impressive 10 wins out of the past 14, the team’s record now stands at 28-20, thanks in large part to the contributions of Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo celebrate against the Reds in Cincinnati on May 19, 2023.

Aaron Judge: The Yankees’ offensive kingpin

Continuing his scorching display at the plate, Aaron Judge showcased an MVP-worthy performance, amassing four additional hits as he extended his impressive hot streak on Saturday. His stellar batting prowess propelled the Yankees to a come-from-behind 7-4 victory over the Reds in an intense 10-inning showdown on Saturday afternoon. Since his return from the injured list, Aaron Judge has been on a tear, maintaining a remarkable .378 batting average (17-for-45) accompanied by seven home runs, 18 RBIs, and an impressive 1.402 OPS across 12 games. Remarkably, the power hitter’s go-ahead single on Saturday was his softest hit of the day, registering at 85.8 mph off the bat, following three hits with exit velocities of 115.1 mph, 103.9 mph, and 89.9 mph.

Unfazed by his scintillating performance, Aaron Judge remained sensible amassing a perfect 4-for-4 record at the plate, alongside a well-earned walk and three RBIs. Notably, his pivotal single in the 10th inning secured the go-ahead run, cementing the Yankees’ triumphant 7-4 victory over the Reds.

Greg Allen, a recent addition to the team, was stationed on third base and just one out in the top of the 10th inning. Still, the Reds opted to challenge Aaron Judge when he stepped up to bat. Reliever Ian Gibaut managed to elicit two futile swings from the reigning AL MVP, but on the third pitch, Aaron Judge showcased his remarkable precision, expertly guiding the ball over the third baseman’s head to secure a crucial 5-4 lead.

Aware of the potential strategy employed by the Reds to intentionally walk Aaron Judge, Manager Aaron Boone entertained the possibility. But Aaron Judge maintained a resolute mindset, refusing to entertain such thoughts.

Aaron Judge’s remarkable performance since returning from the injured list continued at an MVP-caliber pace. In the early stages of the game, he launched a scorching single past the third baseman, and in the third inning, he hammered another hit that struck the base of the wall, resulting in an RBI. The ball was struck with such force that Aaron Judge settled for a single despite the potential for extra bases.

Settling for a single was not necessary for Aaron Judge in the fifth inning, as he unleashed a powerful hit that sailed into double territory, resulting in another run for the Yankees. During his fourth time at-bat, the Yankees superstar demonstrated his patience by drawing a walk. And in the pivotal 10th inning, he delivered once again, driving in an additional run with a well-executed RBI single.

Concluding the day’s remarkable performance, Aaron Judge’s impressive statistics stood at 4-for-5 with three RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Over his last three games, Aaron Judge has maintained an exceptional batting record, going 7-for-16 with two home runs and six RBI.

Aaron Judge stated that having a mindset of expecting intentional walks would lead to defeat even before entering the batter’s box. He admitted to approaching a situation with the belief that he would succeed in accomplishing the task at hand, and was grateful that he could achieve it and subsequently pass the responsibility to Anthony Rizzo.

In the Major Leagues, Aaron Judge’s impressive home run rate stands at one long ball for every 10.23 at-bats, securing him the third position among all players. According to fielder DJ LeMahieu Aaron Judge has seamlessly resumed his exceptional form from the previous year and the performance of the Yankees captain appears effortless. He remarked that Aaron Judge’s focus and concentration were unwavering.

Aaron Judge acknowledged that despite his impressive individual statistics, the team as a whole has not yet reached its full potential. With a batting line of .299/.400/.642, along with 13 home runs and 32 RBI in 38 games this season, the Yankees slugger recognized the need for further improvement. He expressed satisfaction that his teammates were displaying competitiveness during their at-bats and demonstrating their determination to wear down opposing pitchers. Aaron Judge admired the team’s response to adversity.

“We still haven’t clicked. But what I like to see is just guys having competitive at-bats. Guys are up there grinding down pitchers. It doesn’t matter if they have a big inning and go up three runs. Luke Maley had a big two-run homer there to give ’em a four-run lead and our offense responded right back, so it was just all-around great performance.”

Anthony Rizzo: The rock of the team

Continuing his impressive streak, Anthony Rizzo delivered a powerful two-run home run, marking his second consecutive home run off Gibaut. With Rizzo’s contribution, the score extended to 7-4, firmly placing the Yankees (28-20) on a path towards their 10th victory in their previous 13 games.

Aaron Judge commented on Rizzo’s impactful presence in significant victories, highlighting how the first baseman consistently played a crucial role at the center.

“You see in some of our biggest wins, [Rizzo] is right in the middle of it.”

Throughout the season, Anthony Rizzo has proven to be a pillar of stability for the Yankees. Following his impressive performance of going 2-for-5 with three RBIs on Saturday, His season batting average now stands at .303, accompanied by 11 home runs and an impressive .916 OPS.

While Aaron Judge often commands attention with his remarkable accomplishments, he never fails to recognize the immense value that Anthony Rizzo brings to the team. The captain never forgets to consistently acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of his teammate, understanding the significance of Anthony Rizzo’s presence and impact on the team’s success.

When inquired about the significance of Anthony Rizzo to the team, Aaron Judge expressed that Rizzo’s impact extends far beyond a specific role. He acknowledged Rizzo’s immense contributions both within the clubhouse and on the field. Rizzo’s presence as a leader resonates with the team, inspiring and motivating his fellow teammates. Additionally, Aaron Judge praised Rizzo’s exceptional skills as a first baseman, emphasizing his ability to consistently deliver clutch hits in critical moments.

Stressing Rizzo’s significant role within the team, the Yankees captain emphasized that Anthony Rizzo holds a crucial position within the batting order. He highlighted how Rizzo’s contributions have been pivotal in several of the team’s most notable victories, further solidifying his importance to the team’s success.

By launching his most recent home run, Anthony Rizzo provided Ryan Weber with a greater sense of comfort as he took the mound in the bottom of the 10th inning, securing a flawless performance to secure the save. His significant contribution once again served to alleviate the burden on the overworked bullpen.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo

Aaron Boone admires Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo

Boone is well aware of the significant influence that Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo have demonstrated in recent times. The Yankees have witnessed remarkable success, boasting a record of 9-3 since Aaron Judge’s return from a brief stint on the injured list due to a strained right hip. Since his comeback, the star slugger has displayed an outstanding batting average of .378 (17-for-45), accompanied by seven home runs and 18 RBIs.

Having recorded a notable 24 career home runs in Cincinnati, Anthony Rizzo has demonstrated his consistent ability to reach base, accomplishing the feat in 17 of his previous 18 games. Additionally, during this stretch, he boasts an impressive batting average of .353 (24-for-68), accompanied by six home runs and 15 RBIs, further highlighting his significant contributions to the team’s offensive output.

Boone acknowledged Anthony Rizzo’s exceptional performance, describing him as the team’s consistent and unwavering presence throughout the season. Despite the absence of Judge for a stretch of approximately 10 or 11 games, Rizzo maintained his steadfast performance, becoming a reliable and dependable force for the team. Boone praised Rizzo’s resilience and stability, emphasizing the significant role he has played in the team’s success thus far.

During the interview, Judge mentioned that there are various factors contributing to his success. He emphasized the impact of being a part of the team’s lineup, particularly with Anthony Rizzo batting behind him and performing exceptionally well. Aaron Judge noted that having Rizzo’s presence provides him with better pitches within the strike zone.

“A lot of different things, but uh, I think just being in this lineup. Like I’ve been saying all year, when you got Anthony Rizzo hitting behind you, whose been red hot as well. You’re getting good pitches in the zone, and most important thing is just don’t miss it.”

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