New York needs Judge’s bat to advance to the World Series

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Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during game two of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 14, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

While the New York Yankees shocked the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS, it was hardly any thanks to Aaron Judge. Although Judge picked up two RBI while going 2 for 4 in the American League Wild Card game, the Yankees missed the young slugger’s bat against the Indians.

New York needs Judge’s bat if they want to advance to the World Series

In fact, shortstop Didi Gregorius supplied the power this postseason which lifted New York to a 3-2 ALDS win. Not only has Gregorius been showing off his power, but the Yankee pitching also had a part in their win over the Indians. Luis Severino was able to redeem himself from only going a third of an inning in the Wild Card game, Masahiro Tanaka went out and pitched a shockingly strong outing in Game 3, and veteran pitcher CC Sabathia was able to close the door on the Indians as he started Game 5 back in Cleveland. Not to forget Brett Gardner‘s 12 pitch at-bat against Andrew Miller that gave the Yankees the lead in Game 5. As the rest of the New York squad were able to rally back and upset the heavily favored Indians, Judge must show up in New York if the Yankees are to come back from another 0-2 hole against the Astros in the ALCS.

After Severino gave up three runs after only recording one out in the top of the first inning of the Wild Card game, Gregorius stepped into the spotlight by tying the game with a three-run home run. Fast forward to the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS back in Cleveland, Gregorius would continue to show off his power by hitting not one, but two home runs off of Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. Gregorius picked up the Yankees by providing the power they were missing from Judge. Between the Wild Card game and the ALDS, Gregorious has hit three home runs and has five RBI in the postseason. If it were not for the combined effort of Yankee pitching and Gregorius’ power, the Yankees might have lost Game 5.

Severino was hungry to get back on the mound after only going a third of an inning in the Wild Card game. He got his chance in Game 4 of the ALDS and did not disappoint the Yankee faithful. In 26 batters faced, Severino sat down nine batters via strikeout. While he did give up three earned runs with two of them coming through the long ball, he was able to give the Yankees seven good innings while keeping his team in the game. As the Yankees ace, Severino was able to bounce back from his disastrous start against the twins and was able to push the series back to Cleveland.

As the Yankees went home being down 0-2 to the Indians, it was up to Masahiro Tanaka to extend New York’s season one more day. It was shocking how dominant Tanaka was in game three considering he ended 2017 with a 4.74 ERA, but he dominated. Tanaka recorded seven strikeouts, while only giving up three hits and a walk through seven strong innings. Tanaka’s performance in game 3 of the ALDS just goes to show how different the postseason is, and that any player can come up big regardless of their regular season numbers.

If you only looked at Sabathia’s win/loss record in the 2017 ALDS, you would not be able to see how dominant he was in Game 2 and Game 5. The collapse that Yankees experienced in Game 2 was not Sabathia’s fault. He only gave up two earned runs off of three hits but I would say what was more concerning were the three walks that he had; but through 5.1 innings, he was able to keep the Yankees in the game as he picked up five strikeouts. The main cause of the collapse was the Yankees bullpen. Although New York has a strong bullpen, they showed they were human when reliever Chad Green gave up three runs including a home run in just a third of an inning. Sabathia started Game 5 back in Cleveland, where he was again able to keep New York in the game.  Through 4.1 innings of work, C.C. was able to collect nine strikeouts while only giving up two runs on five hits.  Sabathia benefited from a familiar effort from their bullpen, as they dominated the rest of the game as they finished the night by giving the ball to Aroldis Chapman to clinch the ALDS by completing a two-inning save.

Brett Gardner, who ended up driving in the winning run with a base hit, had the best at-bat off of reliever Andrew Miller in the ALDS. Prior to Gardner getting a RBI single into left field, he outlasted Miller by making him throw twelve pitches.

As for Judge, his bat was silent through the ALDS. While he did have a hit and two RBI, he recorded 16 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances. He ended the ALDS with an ice cold .050 batting average. His struggles have continued in the ALCS against the Astros as he holds a .143 batting average. He’s picked up a hit and a walk in the first two games of the ALCS, but the Yankees will require more of the 25-year-old rookie if they are to get back into this series.

While New York has seen its role players shine the brightest so far this postseason, they will need their star outfielder to break out of his slump once again. Judge is capable of making adjustments as we saw in September, but the 25-year-old needs to turn it around quickly if they are to avoid being eliminated.

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