If Aaron Judge strikes out a lot versus the Astros, so will the Yankees hopes of the World Series.
During the media session yesterday, Dallas Keuchel was asked about Aaron Judges’ record-setting strikeouts in a playoffs series. Keuchel and the Astros believe in karma, so he did not answer that question. The team’s focus is on what they can do to win, not focusing on the Yankees. Astros fans have had enough of Judge anyway, so it’s fitting we play the Yankees in the ALCS.
Jose Altuve and Judge are top candidates to win the AL MVP award this year, with Altuve having the edge. During parts of July and August, Judge started striking out more after participating in the home run derby. In September, Judge rediscovered his success at the plate to keep himself in MVP discussions.
While Judge went through that rough patch, Altuve has been consistent all season. Judge had a big hand in winning the Wild Card game versus the Twins. However, during the ALDS versus the Indians, to say that Judge struggled would be an understatement. When you are creating playoff strikeout records, doing so 16 times in 24 at-bats, you are not helping the cause.
Strikeouts are not a new thing as he led the league with 208 strikeouts in 2017. Why is it so surprising that he leads in strikeouts in the ALDS? During the regular season, Judge had 52 homers and 114 RBI’s while batting .284. The team seemed to go as Judge went, so when he struggles…
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Then the Yankees struggle!
The Yankees somehow beat the Indians despite Judge’s struggles. It was partially because of Jose Ramirez and others struggles for the Indians. Like the Nationals are realizing at the time of writing, pitching only takes you so far. The Indians struggles at the plate and mound allowed the Yankees to advance.
Didi Gregorius is the more intimidating hitter in the Yankees lineup at the moment after hitting three homers in the ALDS. Not saying Gregorius can’t continue hitting, he has done well versus Houston, but they need Judge. Without trying to be corny, Judge is their Altuve. Winning without him is hard.
The Astros offense can beat good pitching and will score some runs. They have touched up each of the Yankees starters this year, except C.C. Sabathia, they haven’t faced him. The Yankees weren’t supposed to be this good this year, but Judge and Gary Sanchez carried the team.
Either way, the Stros win this series on paper. If Judge continues to struggle and strand runners, the Yankees will not beat the Astros. Outside of Sanchez and Gregorius, they don’t have the bats to compete with the Astros. This could be a tough series, but the Astros could roll if Judge is not hitting.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and the constant updates of Judge’s strikeouts on Twitter***