It took them a couple of games, but the New York Yankees finally showed up in the American League Championship Series. And Aaron Judge finally started doing Aaron Judge things. Like crushing walls and crushing fastballs.
But let’s go back a bit. The Yankees had been absolutely dominated by Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander in the first two games of the series, so you had to think they were absolutely thrilled to see Charlie Morton on the mound for the Astros last night. No disrespect to Charlie Morton, but he’s not a former CY Young winner. And the Yankees made sure of that early. Todd Frazier started things off in the second with this.
That wasn’t a classic home run swing. In fact, there was nothing home run about that swing, except for the fact that it cleared the fence.
Then Aaron Judge made his presence felt on the series, and on the outfield wall in the top of the fourth.
That is one very large human slamming into a wall. And of course there was any number of witty zingers on social media about how the wall was being removed from the game for observation, or the wall going on the 10-day DL, but I’ll be real, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see that thing collapse on itself. He nearly put that in the ground.
Just ask Frazier: “You see a guy put his head basically through the wall and then dive. The ground is going to shake when he hits the ground.”
And Frazier is playing third base. So if he felt the earth buckle a couple hundred feet away, we’re lucky the Bronx wasn’t swallowed up in a sinkhole.
You get Aaron Judge, all 9 feet 6 inches 700 pounds of muscle of him, running into you at full speed, bad things are going to happen. Just like bad things are going to happen if he runs into a fastball. And he did, in the fifth inning.
He picked a very good game to have a good game. And to break out of the October slump that had kicked in after the wild card win over Minnesota. With one on swing of the bat, he turned a 5-0 game into an 8-0 game and it was over at that point. Ball game. For all the talk of a slump, the guy does have 7 RBI in 9 postseason games. If that’s a slump, it’s the kind of slump nearly every player in baseball would kill for. Yes, he hasn’t exactly been his MVP self for much of the postseason, but as you saw last night, he can change a game and a series with one swing of the bat or one play in the field.
Dude isn’t Mr. October, but he is Mr. FOMO. No other player in baseball inspires that level of Fear Of Missing Out like Judge. You want to be in front of your TV set when he’s playing, because no matter how bad the slump is, eventually he’s going to bust out in a big way and you want to see it when it happens.
And let’s also take note that for all the love that Judge received last night, and rightly so, my man CC Sabathia was just as dominant. 6 innings, 3 hits, 5 Ks, scattering four walks, and allowing zero runs. That’s the second time in as many games that he’s come through for his team when they needed him most. I thought he was supposed to be too old and have too many innings on his arm to do things like that anymore.
But he and the Yankees bullpen were able to shut down an Astros offense that was so explosive during the regular season, which has to be a little concerning for Astros fans. Yeah, you’ve got a 2-1 lead in the series, but you’ve also scored a total of five runs in the series. And now you’re facing a Yankees team that came back from down 2-0 against the best team in the American League and you know they believe they can do it again.