Manager Boone finds Aaron Judge ‘really close’ to getting his form back

Aaron Judge

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NEW YORK – Aaron Judge is the biggest power hitter in the current Yankees’ lineup. He became the new American League home run king with 62 hits this season.

However, this postseason, things were not as good as Aaron Judge and the Yankees might have hoped to see. He didn’t get a hit in the first eight at-bats of the American League Division Series, and the crowd at Yankee Stadium booed Judge after he struck out four times in Game 2 on Friday night. It was a result that might have seemed impossible at any point in his path to history. He led the AL in almost every major offensive category, and his season is likely to end with him winning the AL MVP Award.

After it happened, manager Aaron Boone famously said, “It’s the Bronx, man.”

They know how things work. So, when their 2022 season was on the line in Game 5 of the ALDS on Tuesday afternoon, they were at Yankee Stadium, where a sold-out crowd of 48,178 was waiting for them from the start.

As has happened so often this year, Aaron Judge gave the fans exactly what they came for. Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run homer to start the game. In the second inning, Aaron Judge used his signature swing to hit a solo shot into the right-field seats. It was his fourth career home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game, which is the most in Major League history. The Yankees beat the Guardians 5-1 to clinch a spot in the AL Championship Series, where they will play the Astros in Houston on Wednesday night.

When Aaron Judge went back to the dugout after hitting another home run, TBS cameras caught the soon-to-be free agent kissing his pinstriped Yankees jersey right on the logo. Many interpreted this as his affirmation of staying with the Yankees.

“I’ve been watching a lot of Premier League soccer games, and I think that kind of got the best of me,” Aaron Judge told after the game that followed a champagne-soaked celebration, “The fans brought the energy tonight from the very first pitch. They were on it: they were loud, they were screaming, and they made it a fun atmosphere in a winner-take-all.”

Soon after his words, he and the rest of the Yankees team ran back onto the field to celebrate with the fans. They opened more bottles for the cameras and made sure to enjoy the moment, which had been put off because of the rain on Monday.

It wasn’t easy to get to this point, especially for Aaron Judge, who only had four hits (two home runs) in the best-of-five series and struck out 11 times and walked only once. Only 13 players have been knocked out 10 times or more in a series that long, and Judge has been one of them twice — both coincidentally against Cleveland.

But all that mattered to Aaron Judge was whether or not the Yankees moved on, and he and his hitting partner Stanton were there when it counted. Stanton’s home run in the first inning tied the record that Judge later broke. He joined Yogi Berra, Didi Gregorius, Troy O’Leary, and Moose Skowron as the only players to hit three home runs that won the game.

This is good news for the Yankees, who are now 28-2 (including the playoffs) when their famous duo hits a home run in the same game. Aaron Judge and Stanton have both hit home runs in the same postseason game four times. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is tied for the second most times that two teammates have done this. Only former Astros teammates Carlos Correa and George Springer have done it eight times.

For a team that is built around power, the Yankees’ two best power hitters had inconsistent games in the first four games of the ALDS. Aaron Judge just had a home in his 2 for 16. He had the highest number of New York playoff strikeouts at 9 compared to five by Giancarlo Stanton, who is just a notch above him.

When asked about Judge’s hitting against Cleveland, a team that has done well against Judge in the past, Aaron Boone said, “I feel like, one, they’ve pitched him hard this series. I think that in the last two games in Cleveland, he was getting closer and closer to being locked in like the rest of the season. ”

Boone pointed out that Aaron Judge hit a home run in the loss of Game 3 and another hit in the win of Game 4 in Cleveland on Sunday. Both of these hits came after Boone moved Judge from the top of the lineup to the second spot.

Stanton said of Aaron Judge, “He always steps up to the plate; he knows when a game is important; he’s going to make an effort.”

Now, they will play Houston again in the ALCS in 2017 and 2019. Aaron Judge is one of the only Yankees still playing who has been crushed twice by the Astros right before the World Series. He may be looking to reverse that and be ready for the Yankees whenever they need him to make sure they can celebrate again.

“My ultimate goal is to go out there and win a World Series, and that’s a team that’s kind of always been in the way,” Aaron Judge said, “They got a great ballclub over there, so you kind of got to go through Houston to get to your ultimate goal of winning a World Series. So I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great matchup, and we’re going to have some fun.”

Since DJ LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi have been hurt, the Yankees haven’t been happy with their leadoff hitter, so they’ve kept using Aron Judge there.

Boone didn’t say that Stanton couldn’t play the outfield for the Yankees in Houston if their season goes on past Tuesday. Benintendi is recovering from a broken hook of the hamate bone in his right wrist. Boone said he had a shot in the area in recent days to deal with “residual pain” from the injury. It is unclear if he will be able to play in the ALCS. LeMahieu (right toe) “might” be able to play in the ALCS.

Will Aaron Judge showcase some fireworks in Houston?

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