Safe to say Aaron Judge‘s decisive, mighty, home-run bat is back — it has been for several weeks now — and his 2-run opposite field homer to lead off the scoring in the 3rd was the game winner here. In the field, Judge’s mighty arm — which is always there — threw out 1st baseman Ronald Guzman trying to stretch a single into a double in the 5th. Chad Green and the Yankee bullpen — especially Luis Cessa — shut out the Rangers until a solo homerun in the 9th by Rougned Odor for the 4-1 Yankee win. The Yanks increased their lead over idle Houston to 1.5 games for the AL’s best record and remained .5 ahead of the Dodgers for the best record in baseball.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 4, 2019
Gleyber Torres hit a monster shot in the 4th off starter Lance Lynn to add to the lead. Lynn — whom pitched well and then not well for the Yankees when they took a flier on him last season — was throwing a 99 MPH fastball — confusing many on Twitter but probably the mark of the lively baseball. Lynn has been one of the winningest pitchers in the game this year — although he’s now lost 4 in a row to stilt his record at 14-10 3.81.
Gleyber on 💪 pic.twitter.com/xmH9waeIES
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 5, 2019
Chad Green pitched 2 shutout innings and then Luis Cessa shutout the Rangers for 3 innings — and the Yanks were cruising with what seemed like a 6-0 lead but was only 3-0. And just when it seemed the Yanks might have been lulled into complacency and needed more runs — Austin Romine obliged with a double past 3rd for a 4-0 lead in the 6th.
Aaron Judge Trying to Do What Bobby Murcer Did?
Aaron Judge ended up 1 for 4 and now has a slash line of 20-45-.275 (.382 OBP) in 313 At Bats in his injury-shortened season. After coming back from the long injury he seemed to have adjusted his swing to try and hit the ball for more hits to the opposite field in an attempt to become a .320 hitter — that’s at least what it looked like to this outside observer. And Judge was batting .311 at one point. But the adjustment seemed to affect his home run totals — as noticed and bemoaned by Yankee Twitter. He then seemed to adjust the adjustment and went into a slump where he seemed lost at the plate. A further adjustment has his mighty home run bat back.
This is similar to what Bobby Murcer did at the start of his career — his first two years he showed a home run bat — 26 and 23 homers in 1969 and 1970, which placed him amongst the leaders in that dead-ball era — with batting averages of .251 and .259, and strikeout totals of 100 and 103. In Murcer’s 3rd year at age 25, he made an adjustment and became a .331 hitter (nearly winning the batting title), with 25 homers, and only 60 strikeouts. The next year (1972) Murcer nearly won the home run title with 33 and batted .292 with only 67 strikeouts — amazing numbers in the dead-ball era. At that time Ted Williams said that Bobby Murcer had the best chance of any modern player to win the triple crown.
That seems to be what Judge is after. His home run bat is back, and his OBP is at .381, but the batting average is still in the .270’s — so he still has some work to do.
Aaron Judge wasn’t the only Yankee to play sterling defense — Edwin Encarnacion also made some terrific defensive plays in the field — a fine scoop off an off-line Didi Gregorius throw and a terrific pickup and race to the bag for an out in the 8th with 2 on and 1 out.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 5, 2019
Tyler Wade played 3rd and caught a hot line drive in the 1st.
Tim Anderson of the White Sox now qualifies for the batting lead and has edged ahead of DJ LeMahieu — both batting .331. However, LeMahieu has vaulted into a tie for 4th in the AL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) — he had been 7th. That is an interesting stat for LeMahieu as he has played so many positions this season (2nd, 1st, and 3rd).