The New York Yankees are hoping Aaron Judge can be more consistent with his hitting and show up in clutch situations — but he failed to do that Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Judge struck out in the ninth inning with D.J. LeMahieu on base and he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. The slugger finished the game 1-for-5 with a single and two strikeouts. New York lost the game 3-2 and the Yankees were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
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The outfielder acknowledged he needed to do better in big moments.
“I let the team down twice there and even the ball over my head,” he said of the defensive lapse in the 10th inning that allowed the game-winning run. “That’s another opportunity we could’ve at least held them or at least caught that or cut the guy off to keep him from scoring. Lot of missed opportunities from my part.”
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Judge had been the focal point of concern throughout spring training. Anonymous scouts were concerned over Judge’s swing specifically.
“Judge goes to some hitting guru in the winter and to me his swing has gotten longer,” one scout told NJ Advance Media in March. “He needs to go back and talk to Dave Winfield like he did in 2017 when he got to the big leagues.”
Another scout added: “That swing was really long. Judge has to get back to driving the ball into the right-center gap, which is when he’s going good.”
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Judge can still pack a big punch with the bat, which was proven with a long home run in spring training. But he’s not hit anywhere close to the 52 home runs he had during his rookie season in 2017. He also hasn’t played in more than 115 games since then either.