New York Yankees are enjoying a season filled with Aaron Judge launching home runs through the night sky, but it's not all dingers from one of baseball's rising stars.
Judge is one of the biggest - literally, he's 6'7 and 282 lbs. - power hitters in baseball, and the reigning home run derby champion has created a buzz about the boys in pinstripes. Judge leads the American League in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS, so clearly he's crushing it this season.
But with great power comes great swing-and-miss potential, and that's something Judge is learning in his second season in the MLB. Judge has 159 strikeouts on the year, only a handful less than Miguel Sano's league-leading 164 whiffs at the plate. If there's any smudge on Judge's season, it's certainly taking three strikes.
That's intensified since the All-Star break, with Judge hitting .185/.346/.398 since baseball put things on pause. Just how bad has Judge been? He set the single-season record for most consecutive games with a strikeout Wednesday night against the New York Mets, sitting down on strikes for the 33rd game in a row.
That dubious record was previously held by Adam Dunn, set back in 2013. It's worth mentioning Dunn actually struck out in 36-straight games, but four of them stretched back to the previous season. Judge can still build on that record, though, and it's pretty bad sign for the Yankees right now.
New York is 4.5 games back from the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings, though they have a small cushion in the wild card race. They'll have to continue holding off the Los Angeles Angeles and Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees are on a three-game winning streak with a host of games away from Yankee Stadium on deck. They'll wrap up their series against the Mets Thursday night before opening an always-highly-anticipated series against the Red Sox in Boston that lasts all weekend.
Judge will have to take on the Green Monster, which he's well equipped for with the way he rocket launches baseballs. The trick, it seems, is finding the right balance between Judge getting all of the ball, or none of it for the third pitch in an at-bat.
And while that's a nasty record to have attached to your name, nobody's going to care so long as Judge continues performing. He's 25 and is barely finding his way through his first full MLB season, and he's been phenomenal even with this tough stretch.
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