You can’t blame pitchers for preferring to face anyone in the New York Yankees’ lineup not named Aaron Judge. He’s the front-runner for AL MVP, and the rest of the team has struggled.
The slugger is continuing to rewrite the record books. Saturday, he accomplished a feat no Yankee had in 65 years.
Judge’s three hits in Saturday’s 10-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays allowed him to reach base at least three times in a seventh consecutive game, which had not been done by a Yankee since Mickey Mantle in 1957.
Judge’s .412 on-base percentage ranks atop the American League, but right now, he’s practically an automatic baserunner. He owns a .636 on-base percentage in his last seven games.
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Judge is well on his way to breaking the Yankees’ franchise record for most home runs in a season, which is held by Roger Maris at 61. Some may argue, with the steroid era, that Judge would hold the all-time single season record.
Judge already owns the single-season record for most home runs by a right-handed Yankee, formerly held by Alex Rodriguez, who hit 54 during his 2007 AL MVP season.
Lou Gehrig reached base three-plus times in nine straight games in 1937, the most by any Yankee. Babe Ruth did so in eight straight in 1920. The all-time record is 10 games by Ty Cobb in 1925.
AARON JUDGE REWRITES YANKEES’ RECORD BOOKS WITH 55TH HOME RUN
Mantle won the MVP in 1957 in a close battle with Ted Williams, and this year, it’s yet another two-man race between Judge and Shohei Ohtani, who ranks fifth in the AL in both OPS (.891) and ERA (2.58, min. 135 innings pitched). He also ranks second in the AL with 33 homers and 265 total bases, entering Saturday.
Judge, however, leads all of baseball in home runs (55), RBI (120), slugging percentage (.683), OPS (1,095), runs scored (112) and total bases (342). He also is now vying for the AL Triple Crown, as his batting average has risen to .307. Entering Saturday, Boston’s Xander Bogaerts led the AL with a .318 average.
The MVP race is coming down to numbers that are practically once-in-a-lifetime.
Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, Judge is a free agent this year, and Ohtani will hit the market next season.