Should Yankees give Aaron Judge day off amid home run chase?

New York Yankees Aaron Judge

New York Yankees All-Star slugger Aaron Judge hasn’t gone deep since he tied the American League single-season record of 61 home runs set by Yankees legend Roger Maris in 1961 during this past Wednesday’s 8-3 win at the Toronto Blue Jays

Some believe Yankees manager Aaron Boone needs to give the uncrowned 2022 AL Most Valuable Player a breather. 

For a piece published Monday morning, Bob Klapisch of NJ Advance Media argued that Judge is now pressing and should sit for Monday’s series opener at the lowly Texas Rangers after the big man struck out three times in Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. 

“Judge’s four plate appearances on Sunday were a billboard of frustration,” Klapisch wrote of the four-time All-Star selection. “He got nine chances to hit his 62nd homer – nine strikes he considered good enough to swing at – but not once did he put the ball in play. There were four swings and misses, five foul balls.” 

Klapisch also mentioned something that John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill pointed out during a broadcast on YES Network, the television home of the Yankees. 

“He’s opening his front side a millisecond too soon,” Klapisch added about Judge. “His swing path has acquired a more distinct uppercut. As a result, pitches that Judge crushed over the summer are being fouled straight back. And opponents have stopped pounding the inside corner. Now it’s all down-and-away sliders, hoping Judge will chase. Lately, he has.” 

Judge, who hasn’t missed a game since Aug. 5, also showed uncharacteristic emotion when he tossed his bat, batting gloves, and protective gear following a strikeout during Saturday’s contest against Baltimore. 

Following Monday night, the Yankees will play a doubleheader in Texas on Tuesday and then finish the regular season at the Rangers on Wednesday. The 97-61 Bronx Bombers will be chasing more than just a playoff series win later this month and, thus, will need Judge to be at his best and fully concentrated on tasks that have nothing to do with notching home run No. 62. 

Perhaps sitting Judge now could get him right both for the next couple of days and for the postseason. 

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