Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Stanton & Judge Powering Yankees’ Historic Start


Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge surveying the field during a recent batting practice. Photo by Jason Schott.

On Tuesday night, the Yankees pulled off a stirring comeback win against the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-5, and it was not hard to see where their offense came from.

With the Yankees trailing 3-0 in the sixth, Giancarlo Stanton launched a three-run home run to right field to tie it. Then, with Toronto up 5-3 in the ninth, and two runners on base for the Yankees, Aaron Judge got one of his own, a monster shot to the second deck in left field, to give the Yankees the walk-off win, their second in three days.

The win gave the Yankees their 14th win in their last 16 games and ran their Major League-best record to 21-8. It is just the fourth time in their last 64 seasons (dating to 1959) that the Yankees have won 21 of their first 29 games. The other three instances are pretty recent, with the 1998 and 2003 teams going 23-6, and the same 21-8 in 2010. 

Stanton is having a great start to the season after a solid finish last year. He is hitting .259 with seven home runs and 22 RBI, with a .291 on-base percentage and .463 slugging percentage.

While seven home runs a month into the season is impressive, what's even more so is when they've come. Five of them have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead. The further breakdown is two have tied a game and three have put the Yanks ahead. 

Over his last 13 games, starting on April 26, Stanton is hitting .327/.375/.633 (16-49) with 5 home runs, 14 RBI, 5 walks, and 6 runs scored. He has reached base in 12 of those 13 games as well. 

With runners on scoring position, Stanton is hitting .323/.368/.645 (10-for-31) with 3 home runs, 16 RBI, 4 walks, and a double.

Judge has nearly matched Stanton, as he has reached base in 11 of his last 13 games since April 24, and he has a slash line of .321/.368/.755 (17-53) with 7 home runs, 17 RBI, 4 walks, 14 runs scored, and a stolen base in that span. 

This is part of the incredible season the Yankees right fielder is putting together. Judge's 10 home runs lead the Major Leagues, and according to Elias, he is the first Yankee since Alex Rodriguez in 2007 to be the first in the Majors to reach 10 home runs. That was the year Rodrgiguez won his second Most Valuable Player award as a Yankee.

Judge ranks third in the Majors in slugging (.626), fifth in OPS (.982), tied for fifth in extra-base hits (16) and tied for ninth in RBI (22). 

The Yankees are 7-1 when Judge homers this season, and to tack on the past two seasons, 40-9 since 2020. Since Judge debuted in 2016, the Yankees have an astonishing 112-38 mark in his career when he homers.

When Judge said before the season that his contract issues would not affect his play on the field, he meant it.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone touched on that in his pregame press conference on Wednesday morning.

"It just shows the kind of person and player that he is," Boone said. "I'm not surprised at all. He's about this team, he's about his teammates, I know he loves wearing the pinstripes, and I know he has a lot of team goals in mind. That's where I knew his focus would be, and that's where I know it is right now."

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