After Hitting No. 62, Aaron Judge Acknowledges Pressure of Chase
During that span, Judge looked off at the plate. He amassed only three hits in 17 at-bats, none for extra bases. His average dropped to .311, likely ending his chances of earning the rare feat of a triple crown because Minnesota’s Luis Arraez will enter the final day of the regular season hitting .316. Fans at Globe Life Field cheered when Judge stepped to the plate and booed when he didn’t clobber a ball over the fences.
“I got a base hit the other night and I was getting booed for a single,” he said with a chuckle, recalling how much fans also wanted to see him make history.
The nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader was the 55th straight game started by Judge. Since the Yankees won the A.L. East title on Sept. 27 and secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs, most of the team’s regular players have gotten days off. Boone said he had at least considered giving Judge one on Monday or during one of Tuesday’s games. But he insisted that he hadn’t noticed the chase wearing Judge down enough physically to mandate one. And a decision to rest during this period would be largely driven by Judge anyway, Boone said.
“It was weighing on him, not heavily, but I think he was carrying it around. Every day, it’s kind of madness and anticipation,” Boone said.
Added Yankees starter Gerrit Cole: “This is the first time I’ve seen it wear on him, to be honest, just a little bit. Not from a personal standpoint, I don’t think, but probably from a selflessness standpoint, like ‘I want to make everyone happy.’”
Judge, though, wanted to keep playing. There was a record to chase. And Judge, who had dealt with injuries often earlier in his career and is a free agent after this season, has frequently pointed to his ability to play more than ever this season as the biggest reason for his performance. The clock was ticking on the regular season and Wednesday was his last chance.