All Rise, Here Comes the Judge By: Joey Bailey

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Yankee fans, take a deep breath. Aaron Judge is doing Aaron Judge things again. Since his historic rookie season where ‘The Judge’ sentenced 52 unlucky baseballs to death by mashing, he has almost leveled off. Now before I go any further, this is in large part due to injuries. If you are an avid watcher of the Bombers you know Aaron Judge hasn’t looked like his 2017 form, but when you hit that many homers in your rookie year you build up some pretty lofty expectations and when you’re playing hurt it is incredibly hard to maintain that level of excellence. We have watched Judge battle injuries for two seasons in a row, and while doing so we watched him go through highs and lows. We watched some of his “worst” baseball during a two month span from June-July of this year. During that span Judge hit only six round-trippers, and drove in 17 runs in in 141 plate appearances. Captain Bomber started to turn this around in August, but more specifically during the Yankees west-coast trip which started in Oakland. Up to that point in time Judge had yet to pull a homerun in 2019, and I think that was all he needed to do to get himself right. Judge did just that in the Bay Area and then went on to finish August with eight bombs and 15 RBI’s. Those eight homers were Judge’s most in a month since May 2018 when Judge also hit eight. It was so refreshing watching Judge hit and just really believing he was going to have a good at-bat and possibly hit one out. It seemed like he was going to hit one every game and he almost did.

Of those he hit in August two in particular stuck out to me. First was his 3rd inning shot off of the possible NL Cy Young winner Hyun-Jin Ryu in Dodger Stadium. The second was his 8th inning big-fly against the A’s in the Bronx which lead to an eventual Yankee walk-off win. These were so impressive to me all because of the moment. The blast off Ryu set the tone for the entire series against the odds on NL World Series favorites. The Bombers took two of three from the Dodgers and Judge hit a homer in each of the three games including a massive homerun off of the great Clayton Kershaw. The A’s gave the Yanks a big problem following their sweep of the Bombers earlier in the month. Just when it looked as though they would steal a series from the Yanks in the Bronx, Aaron Judge tied the ballgame in the 8th and the rest is history.

Judge’s success is vital to the Yankees and the numbers don’t lie. In 2019 when Judge plays the Bombers are 54-33, and Judge’s splits in those games tell you one big thing. The Yankees win when Aaron Judge hits the baseball. In those 33 loses this season, Judge has a .213/.322/.311 line with only three homers and 11 RBI’s. However in 54 wins those same numbers look just a little different. Judge owns a .302/.404/.624 line and 18 homers with 36 RBI’s in Yankee wins. It’s simple, as Judge goes the Yankees go.

Judge has had a so-so start to September, but that belief and confidence is still very much there and he is still producing. Last night Judge sent a towering blast over the monster in Boston last night to catapult the Yanks who went on to beat the Sox yet again this season.

2019 is the year Cashman and the entire Yankees organization had circled, even before their breakout Baby Bomber 2017 season. This is the year they have a real chance to win their first championship of the decade. A chance to silence everyone who said Boone couldn’t manage this team better than Girardi and to prove all those wrong who criticized Cash at the deadline for not picking up a starter, myself included. We are in September, you can taste a division title, you can smell an ALCS against the Astros and you can see World Series games in “The House that Judge Built” on the horizon. The most important piece to making that happen is, who I think should be the next Yankee captain, Aaron Judge. If he can stay the course and be the superstar we all know he is, we may be rising for a World Series Trophy.

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