Yankees’ loss, A’s pain: Aaron Judge’s absence causes a ripple effect in Oakland

Aaron Judge signing balls for fans in London.

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The A’s should be happier to face a Yankees lineup without Aaron Judge. However, it seems that they are going to suffer a major blow without the AL MVP playing at RingCentral Coliseum. Without the power hitter showcasing his skills in Oakland, the crowd presence is going to hit another low for the Athletics.

When the New York Yankees begin their three-game visit on Tuesday night, the Oakland Athletics are not going to benefit from the absence of Aaron Judge. Which often attracts a larger crowd, to improve their poor home attendance. 

Last year, the A’s had their second, fourth, and tenth largest crowds during the Yankees’ four-game visit. Yet, despite the increased attendance, the series ended in a tie. In total, these games attracted 93,724 fans. Which accounted for approximately 12 percent of the total attendance for the 81-game season.

The Aaron Judge jolt to A’s

Aaron Judge, who is from Linden, California, located approximately 85 miles east of Oakland, will not be participating in this series. He is currently dealing with a torn ligament in his right big toe, which he sustained while colliding with the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium on June 3. As a result, it is widely expected that Aaron Judge is going to be absent for an extended period of time.

If it was a big loss for the Yankees, the A’s will have to bear the brunt too. In the Bay Area, Aaron Judge remains hugely popular. Last year, the San Francisco Giants made an attempt to capitalize on his popularity by signing him and drawing more crowds to their home games. The same goes for the Athletics. While their present performance is one of the worst in MLB, their impending plan to locate to Los Vegas is already getting brickbats from the local fans, who are not willing to attend games at the Coliseum.

The A’s are counting big on the Yankees game to reverse their abysmal attendance record. However, the absence of Aaron Judge is going to hit their expectations hard.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees

Yankees without Aaron Judge

Since their slugger’s absence, the Yankees have experienced a challenging period, winning only 8 out of 18 games. They have faced difficulties in finding a suitable replacement for him, both in the No. 2 spot of the batting order and in the right field position.

Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Josh Donaldson have all had opportunities to bat second in the lineup. Still, none of them have been able to match Aaron Judge’s impressive level of productivity.

In the past 18 games, players such as Jake Bauers, Willie Calhoun, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Stanton have been given opportunities to start in right field. Nonetheless, their collective performance in terms of hitting has been less than impressive. Together, they have only managed to get 10 hits out of 60 at-bats.  Resulting in a batting average of .167. Furthermore, they have hit a total of three home runs and driven in nine runs.

During the recent three-game series in Texas, Yankees manager Aaron Boone made the decision to keep Donaldson on the bench for the majority of the games, with the exception of a pinch-hit appearance in the 10th inning. Following the team’s 5-3 victory, Boone had a private conversation with Donaldson that lasted for about thirty minutes.

Yankees captain Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium on June 1, 2023.

A’s are equally slumping

Similar to the Yankees, the A’s also had to travel a long distance after their Sunday afternoon game. However, their journey was not a pleasant one, as they suffered a heavy 12-1 defeat against Toronto, concluding a disappointing 1-5 road trip. The team’s recent performance has been lackluster, with only one victory in their last ten games. This comes after an impressive seven-game winning streak, which included back-to-back victories against the Tampa Bay Rays at home.

During the recent trip, second baseman Tony Kemp showcased some positive performances, standing out as one of the bright spots. After enduring an 0-for-23 slump, Kemp rebounded strongly by registering hits in nine out of his last ten games. Throughout the trip, he maintained a solid batting average, going 7-for-20, equivalent to a.350 batting average.

According to A’s manager, Mark Kotsay, Tony has shown remarkable improvement in his performance. Kotsay acknowledged Tony’s professionalism, noting that he persevered with determination and continuous effort, resulting in positive outcomes.

The Oakland homestand will commence with Paul Blackburn, who holds a record of 0-0 and an ERA of 4.21, taking the mound. He will be facing the Yankees’ Jhony Brito, a right-handed pitcher with a record of 4-3 and an ERA of 4.89. 

Blackburn has demonstrated solid performance in his two home starts this season, allowing only three earned runs in a total of 9 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves and Rays. Additionally, in his career, Blackburn has made two starts against the Yankees and holds a record of 0-0 with an ERA of 2.70.

In Jhony Brito‘s last four starts, the New York Yankees have emerged victorious in each of them. One notable game was their 11-3 victory at home against the Oakland Athletics on May 10. During that game, Brito pitched for 4 1/3 innings and conceded only two runs. It marked his first-ever start against the Athletics as a rookie.

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