Winning against the Tampa Bay Rays has become extremely important for the New York Yankees, especially after everything that went down last season. The Bombers started their series with the right foot, taking the first game backed up by a phenomenal performance by Jordan Montgomery on the mound and their best offensive player.
Yes, it may not always look like it, but Aaron Judge is the Yankeesâ€™ most dangerous offensive weapon with his ability to take walks and impact the game with his huge raw power. Yesterday was no exception, as he was able to drive a Luis Patino offering into the stands to give his team the lead.
â€œThat was big time for us,â€ Judge said to MLB.com. â€œWhenever we come into Tampa, I feel like it’s tough for us to score runs and get on the board. For me, I was just trying to get something out over the plate and do damage early, trying to get something going in the first inning. I was happy to do it on that first swing.â€
The Yankeesâ€™ outfielder was really struggling
Judge was mired in a 2-for-24 dry spell at the plate, so the big night â€“ he went 2-for-4 with the home run and a single â€“ may mean he is about to break out and produce the numbers we are all accustomed to.
Judge had struck out 13 times in his last five games, including a five-strikeout performance against the Houston Astros in which he whiffed every time he stepped in the batterâ€™s box. His batting average had collapsed to .236, but with Tuesdayâ€™s big night, it rose to .246 in the blink of an eye. It still has room to improve.
The Yankees are lucky to have Judge. He is so good that even when he was slumping, his season numbers remain elite. He is currently at .254/.356/.500 with eight round-trippers and a 142 wRC+, very close to his 151 career mark. His arrow is trending up.