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Aaron Judge didn’t homer but still showed he was the best player in the world

Aaron Judge is the greatest show on earth, so of course he was going to deliver a memorable play in the bottom of the ninth, with an innings that brought the whole town to a standstill, and gave order a whole new meaning.” all rise.”

Everyone had to stand and watch and wait for the story to land on the other side of the center field wall. But first, Judge had a point to prove early in the round. He picked up the rebound in the right-field corner and showed the world why he’s so much more than an oversized strongman throwing baseballs at the moon.

He delivered a perfect volley strike to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the ultimate frozen rope, and what would have been Tommy Pham’s first brace was reduced to the first out. Judge was expected to tie and possibly break a home run record Thursday night, and he helped beat the Red Sox with his arm instead.

He’ll beat you with doubles and a walk here, and with three walks and an absurd pitch there. But Aaron Judge is going to help his team beat you one way or another, even if he doesn’t do what the crowd paid to see him do.

The No. 99 Yankees returned to the playoffs with this 5-4 victory punctuated by Josh Donaldson’s game winner in the 10th. “We’re in The Dance and we have a chance now,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Their best chance is embodied by Judge, who didn’t let his “failure” to tie Roger Maris’ magical 61-home run season in 1961 stop him from trying to win a game in a totally different way to his old one. field, right field, home office of another great man who has already hit 60 homers in one season, a guy named Babe.

Harrison Bader (left) celebrates with Aaron Judge after Judge downed Tommy Pham trying to stretch a single into a double in the Yankees’ 5-4, 10 innings win over the Red Sox.
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Until Judge tries to win the old-fashioned way — the Ruthian way — from the batter’s box on the ninth.

With one out and no one in a 4-4 game, and with fans in the stadium alternating between the noise of the jet engine and the silence of the confessional booth between the pitches, Judge sent a 2-2 four-seam high and deep in the dark night. The crunch of the bat, the majestic flight path to dead center, the roar of the crowd and the call of the TV presenter made it all perfect.

Except for the end. The 404-foot shot came within half a dozen feet.

“What a good batter,” Boone said. “I thought it would have been pretty showy to drop it off at Monument Park there.”

The judge knew he was a bit below and he wasn’t going to make it in the cool, windy conditions. So what would have been one of the most dramatic home runs in Yankees history suddenly became one of the most jaw-dropping flying balls you’ve ever seen.

It didn’t help the home team win that game, but damn it, that right field shot certainly did.

“That’s what MVPs do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa receives a pitch from Aaron Judge and scores Tommy Phan who was trying to stretch a doubles single in the ninth inning.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa receives a pitch from Aaron Judge and scores Tommy Phan who was trying to stretch a doubles single in the ninth inning.
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg

All about Aaron Judge and his pursuit of the home run record:


The judge had spent a lot of quality time in the middle, and yet he handled Pham’s shot against the wall as if he had played every game this year in law. He settled under the high hops. He didn’t rush the game. He put perfect backspin on the pitch.

“You could say he’s done it a million times,” Boone said.

The judge was not about to accept attaboys to do his job. “I was just trying to make a game like anybody else,” he said.

Judge Aaron

The truth is, Judge was never just about home run records. He entered the day with 74 runs above the MLB batting average. He steals bases. He accepts walks. He plays center field at 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds. He works on his craft in right field, where he will spend the rest of his prime.

“He does everything really well,” Donaldson said. “He is an excellent ball player. It affects the game in so many ways.

Of course, Judge was dying to give fans whatever they wanted. Unfortunately, Michael Wacha is a smart and resourceful pitcher who has won 60% of his career starts and has outplayed Judge in his career games. Wacha walked Judge twice (the first time on four pitches) and mixed up a few juicy pitches to hit – a 2-2 four-seam in his second at bat and a 1-1 cutter in his third at bat – before he knock on a change.

Red Sox reliever John Schreiber walked Judge his third in the seventh, before Anthony Rizzo went on a double play. Hours earlier, Cora had claimed the visitors planned to fight against the heavyweight champion. “We have to attack it the way we think we will,” Cora said of Judge, “and the game will dictate what we do.”

And yet, in the end, the tour strategy was clear – nibble around Judge a lot, surprise him with a few manhood challenges, accept fan boos as the price of doing business, and hope that eventual walks will put in places a series of double plays.

The plan almost worked. Almost.

The Yankees won because Aaron Judge reminded everyone that he is the best player in the sport, with or without the long ball.

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