Aaron Judge stalls on 60 home runs as Yankees take AL ​​East title, Wild Card Series bye

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge gets stuck on 60 home runs. The judges got a 0 for 1 with four walks in Tuesday night’s win over AL East rival Toronto Blue Jays (NYY 5, TOR 2). It is the second four-walk game in Judge’s career. Judge, of course, is chasing Roger Maris’ 1961 American League single-season record of 61 home runs.

More importantly, with Tuesday’s win, the Yankees clinched the AL East title and a Wild Card Series bye. The Astros and Yankees will be the top two AL seeds and thus go straight to the ALDS. The AL Central champion Guardians will play in the best-of-three Wild Card Series, although they will host all three games. The three wildcard spots are still undecided.

As for Judge, he is 5 out of 19 (.263) with 12 walks and strikeouts eight in seven games since hitting his 60th home run last Tuesday. That equates to an on-base percentage of 0.548. Here’s the AL’s single-season home run standings:

  1. Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
  2. Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 60 and still counting
  3. Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60
  4. Hank Greenberg, 1938 Tigers: 58
  5. Jimmie Foxx, 1932 Athletics: 58

The seven-game drought is the second longest of the season for Judge. He had a seven-game drought from April 14-21 and a nine-game season-high drought from August 13-21. Judge hit eight home runs in his next 10 games after that April drought, and nine home runs in his next 14 games after that August drought.

In addition to Maris’ record, Judge also hunts for the Triple Crown. Tuesday’s game leaves him with a .314 batting average, narrowly ahead of Luis Arraez (.313) and Xander Bogaerts (.311). Judge leads the league by good margins with 60 home runs and 128 RBI. Miguel Cabrera had baseball’s last Triple Crown in 2012.

Judge will try to hit his 61st home run in Wednesday’s series finale in Toronto. The Blue Jays start right wing Mitch White, who has allowed two hits in two career at bats against Judge. After Wednesday’s game, the Yankees return home for a tea-game weekend series with the Orioles, giving Judge a chance to catch Maris at Yankee Stadium.

The AL East title is New York’s first since 2019 and only its second since 2012. They’ve had an entire season of ups and downs. The Yankees peaked 61-23 on July 8, the best record in baseball with 6 1/2 games, but they’ve only stood 34-36 since then, including an ugly 3-14 streak in August. Since then they have straightened the ship in September with a record of 16-7.

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