Yankees’ Aaron Judge continues red-hot May with multi-hit game against Padres

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees, aaron judge
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has completely erased that poor month of April. He continued his red-hot month of May with another multi-hit performance Saturday against the San Diego Padres, going 2-for-4 with a double and a towering first-inning two-run home run off of Padres’ ace Dylan Cease, the fourth consecutive game that Judge has hit a home run.

Judge’s first-inning blast put him in a three-way tie with Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson and Astros’ Kyle Tucker for the MLB lead with 17 home runs on the season. Judge also now leads all of baseball in slugging percentage (.637) and OPS (1.050), and leads the American League in doubles with 18. He has now raised his batting average to .280 after hitting under the Mendoza Line for the first month of the season.

Aaron Judge and the Yankees have been on a tear in May

May 3, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) gestures to fans after the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Judge struggled mightily through the first month of the regular season. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said at the end of April that he wasn’t worried about the slugger’s slow start to the season despite him entering May 2 hitting just .197 and with only 24 total hits. It turns out that Boone was right to be confident, as Judge has hit 11 home runs and driven in 21 RBIs with an OPS of 1.489 in the month of May, and has once again proven himself as one of the top hitters in the sport.

Following Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Padres that pushed them to 20 games over .500 at 37-17, Judge became the first player in MLB history to record at least 12 doubles and 11 home runs in any 20-game span (h/t Yankees’ X account).

Judge is on a similar pace to his historic 2022 season

The star slugger also leads the league in first-inning home runs with eight, which is already just one shy of his first-inning total from last season. According to The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner, Judge is on pace for 52 home runs this season. His 191 wRC+ through the first 54 games of the season is on an eerily similar track to his historic 2022 season in which he hit an AL record 62 home runs, as his wRC+ through the first 54 games that season was 195.

Judge was playing at an equally high level prior to his toe injury last season, but the difference is that, unlike last year, he is not carrying the entire load of the offense this time around. The winter splash acquisition of Juan Soto has been marvelous all season long, Anthony Volpe currently has an 18-game hitting streak, Giancarlo Stanton has had a strong bounce-back campaign thus far, and they are getting small contributions from guys like Alex Verdugo and Anthony Rizzo.

Judge’s supporting cast has done their part this season

When Judge starts to swing the bat well, the whole team follows suit. As a team, the Yankees lead all teams in home runs, slugging percentage, and OPS. They also lead the AL in runs scored, on-base percentage, and walks drawn, and are tied with the Kansas City Royals for the AL lead in RBIs.

As Judge continues to rake, the Yankees continue to win games. They have now won four consecutive games, 11 of their last 13, and currently have a three-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East division. They will go for the series sweep against the Padres on Sunday afternoon before an off day on Monday.

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