Aaron Judge to the Rescue — July 16, 2019: NY 8 Tampa 3

It came down to the bottom of the 8th, 2 outs, a runner on 1st base, the Yankees trailing by a run to 2nd place Tampa who had won the matchup the night before — and if Tampa won they’d be only 4 out — and Aaron Judge at the plate with 2 strikes on him.

Aaron Judge whose last 8 hits had all been singles — raising his average to over .300 but some on Yankee Twitter were complaining that they wanted the old Aaron Judge back — the one who hit moonshots. He hadn’t had an extra base hit in 2 weeks (a double on July 3rd) and had only 3 extra base hits (2 homers in June) since his return from injury almost a month ago (on June 21st).

On a 3-2 pitch Judge hit an opposite field fly ball that JUST MISSED being a homerun by the foul pole — foul by 2 feet! On the next pitch — Judge hit a more massive and very fair opposite field drive to the bleachers in right — a 2-run homer to give the Yanks the 4-3 lead and possibly the ballgame!

The Yankee offense then came ALIVE. Luke Voit singled, Gary Sanchez doubled, Edwin Encarnacion (who had homered earlier) was intentionally walked and Didi Gregorius stepped up to the plate.

With bases loaded, 2 out, and 2 strikes on Didi — the Yankees could really use an insurance run — when Didi smacked a MASSIVE homerun to right — a Grand Slam! And that was definitely the ballgame. It also resulted in perhaps the greatest call in baseball history:

Judge on Fire

Judge was batting .270 just a few weeks ago — but is now on fire — 2 for 3 in this game with a walk, and is now batting .304 with a .424 OBP. As Jim Sittig (@JimmySidd) put it, “That’s my threshold. When I see a player at or over .400 OBP that man is a stud.”

Judge has been hitting ball after ball to the opposite field — the way Jeter used to. Line drive to right center. And now the homeruns are coming. Great news for Yankee fans.

CC on Fire

CC Sabathia provided a ‘quality start’ — 6 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 6 strikeouts — and got into a verbal altercation with Tampa rightfielder Avisail Garcia in the 6th, that may have lit a fire under the Yankees.

Jomboy provided the lip reading:

Tampa’s “Opener” Strategy Fails Again

The Yanks were up against Ryne Stanek and the Tampa “Opener” strategy — the one they started last year by purposely having a reliever like Stanek open the game, and pitch 1 or 2 innings, then bring in the ballpen — the strategy being the “opener” goes thru the lineup once, and then none of the relievers has to go thru the lineup more than 2 times (in yesterday’s game Tampa bullpenner’s Jalen Beeks, who pitched 3.1 strong innings of relief striking out 5 and then Hunter Wood, who pitched a shutout 7th, executed that strategy).

But the hole in the strategy is if you reach for a reliever having a bad day. And Tampa did that in the 8th with Colin Poche who was lit up for the 6 runs.

Remember when the Yankees swept Tampa in June, the Tampa “opener” strategy failed then too — and their ballpen in general failed twice.

Yankee Defense

Yankee defense remains terrific — in this game Brett Gardner helped CC out by robbing a homerun in the 4th.

Yanks Kept Coming Back

Edwin Encarnacion hit a massive homerun in the 2nd to tie the game 1-1, and DJ LeMahieu hit a homer in the 6th to cut a 3-1 Tampa lead to 3-2.

All Hail Hale

Nestor Cortes Jr.relieved CC for the 7th and got into trouble — allowing a hit and walking 2 to load the bases with 1 out. David Hale came in and got an inning-ending double play that was HUGE.

Zack Britton pitched a shutout 9th for the save.

The Boxscore


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