Win against Reds brings special memories for Aaron Judge, Aaron Boone

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

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Yankees power hitter Aaron Judge stole the show in Cincinnati during an eventful evening celebrated with the introduction of a fresh Cincinnati Reds uniform and marred by a ‘sticky’ controversy.

It was for the first time since he was a rookie in 2017, Aaron Judge went back to Cincinnati, where he made a big effect. In his first turn at bat, he hit a huge home run that traveled 431 feet. Then, in the sixth inning, his patient walk set up Anthony Rizzo’s important two-run homer, which helped the Yankees beat the Reds 6-2.

Aaron Judge led the show

Aaron Judge, who was cheered loudly during his pregame batting practice and throughout the game by the crowd of 35,177 at Great American Ball Park, broke his bat on his first swing. On the fourth pitch, he hit a huge home run to center field that came dangerously close to hitting the “Red hits sign, fan wins Tundra” signboard. The exciting feat was a big deal, and it made the Cincinnati Reds’ first game in their all-black City Connect outfits less exciting.

Ben Lively kept the Yankees‘ order quiet for 5 2/3 innings in his first start in Major League Baseball since 2018. Before that, he had made two relief appearances for the Reds. In the first inning, Lively gave up a solo home run to Judge and a single to Anthony Rizzo. After that, he went on an impressive run, retiring 16 straight hitters. He didn’t give up a walk to Aaron Judge until the sixth inning, which ended his great performance.

Since the Blue Jays series, Aaron Judge continued to be the center of attention because of his hot play. In the first inning, he once again showed off his power by hitting a huge 431-foot home run off right-hander Ben Lively. This home run was Aaron Judge’s seventh in a row, which is very impressive and shows how well he’s been playing.

Manager Aaron Boone commented that Aaron Judge’s performance was remarkable when he goes on these streaks of hitting, as even a slight mistake in pitch location in the middle of the plate can result in a powerful hit to various parts of the ballpark. Boone expressed his enjoyment in witnessing Aaron Judge’s current level of play and his consistent ability to put himself in advantageous positions during the game.

Anthony Rizzo stepped in

Nestor Cortes, Aaron, Judge, and Anthony Rizzo during a Yankees game.

In the sixth inning, Anthony Rizzo showed how strong he was by hitting a 424-foot home run that scored two runs and was a powerful blow. This big hit made it 3-0 in favor of the Yankees. With two outs and a one-run lead, Ben Lively was replaced on the field by Ian Gibaut, who tried to get rid of Rizzo. But Rizzo showed off his skills by hitting his 10th home run of the season by hitting an inside pitch down the right field line.

Rizzo, who used to play for the Chicago Cubs and was a longtime division foe, has a very good record in Cincinnati. In 157 games, he has hit 35 home runs, the most against the Reds, and driven in 100 runs.

According to Aaron Judge, having Anthony Rizzo batting behind him, especially considering Rizzo’s recent impressive form, provides added benefits. Aaron Judge acknowledged that this lineup arrangement leads to receiving better pitches to hit. He emphasized the crucial aspect of not squandering those opportunities and making the most of the quality pitches that come their way.

The Reds didn’t have many chances to score against Schmidt, and they blew a rare chance by making two baserunning mistakes in one play. With two men on base and India up to bat, Henry Ramos tried to steal third, but he was caught and thrown out. Wil Myers, who was running from first base, did not move during the play, making the Reds’ missed chance even worse.

Because of recent events, the team’s success rate at stealing bases dropped to 69.6%, which is the second-lowest in the big leagues. Schmidt ended the game by striking out India, which made it even harder for the team to take advantage of the chance to score.

A homecoming gift for Aaron Boone

This is only the fifth time in history that two sons of Major League managers are both in charge of their own teams. Both Boone and David Bell faced each other in 2022 and 2023.

Boone hadn’t been to Great American Ball Park for a long time. The last time he was there was for the 2015 All-Star Game. At that time, he was an expert for ESPN, which gave the game a different point of view.

Boone mentioned that the place had great significance for his team. Over the past two weeks, he had been actively conveying the importance he attached to this venue and highlighting the significance it held for him. He stressed the need for a strong performance in this particular setting and stated that he had been employing all possible measures to achieve that goal.

When Boone talked about “this place,” he was talking about Cincinnati. The Reds picked him in the draft in 1994 and he got to play for them for the first 6 1/2 years of his Major League career.

Boone expressed that returning to Cincinnati always held great significance for him. He shared that he experienced strong emotions upon coming back, as there were many familiar elements that he had encountered numerous times in his life.

Cincinnati held immense importance to him, as it had played a substantial role in shaping his life and would always hold a special place in his heart.

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