New York Yankees Top 10’s: The Yankees top right-fielders throughout history

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

This is another installment of my top 10 New York Yankees series, I give my choices for the top 10 Yankee right fielders of all time.  The Yankees, in their glorious history, have many of the best players ever to play in their positions in the history of MLB.  Previous installments have featured the top ten pitchers, catchers, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd baseman. With so many good players and different ways of measuring greatness, different writers may have different rankings, these are mine.

10.  Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has only played for the Yankees for five years but has racked up a batting average of .272 with 268 runs driven in, and 119 home runs, plus another 11 long balls in postseason play.. Considering his excellent stats, his defense is even better.  He has a rocket of an accurate arm, making many difficult plays look easy.  In future years he could easily rank considerably higher on this list.  The only thing that might prevent that is his frequent injuries. 2017 was his best year with the Yankees, since then his injuries have prevented him from greatness.

9. George Selkirk

Many Yankee fans may not know the name of George Selkirk, but he played for the New York Yankees between 1934 and 1942, playing his entire career for the Yankees. Selkirk was an excellent fielder and hit a .290 batting average for the Yankees with 576 runs batted in. His fielding percentage was .976, which was excellent for that time.

8. Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield could have been higher on this list. However, he only played three years with the Yankees. Sheffield was a menacing figure at the plate. In his three years, he hit .291 with 269 RBIs and 76 home runs. Sheffield, like Aaron Judge, had a cannon for an arm. He made spectacular plays, often hitting the right-field wall. He had a remarkable 22-year career in the outfield. He played for the Yankees between 2004 and 2006.

7. Hank Bauer

Hanke Bauer is often an underrated right fielder. He played for the Yankees between 1948 and 1959. During that time, he hit .277 with 654 runs batted in and 158 long balls. He was one of the Yankee’s most contact hitters of his time. In 12 years with the Yankees, he hit an average of 110 hits a year for a total of 1326 hits. He was a five-time MVP candidate during the span.

6. Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella was one of the most popular New York Yankee players in the 1970s and ’80s. He spent eleven years with the Yankees hitting .295 with 417 RBIs. Piniella was not a home run hitter but had 971 hits in his Yankee tenure. He was a magnificent arm in the outfield. Piniella had a vast knowledge of the game and went on to be the Yankee manager from 1986 to 1987. He also managed the Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and the Reds. He returned to manage the Yankees for the second time in 1988.

5. Roger Maris

Roger Maris is a famous Yankees that is often overrated due to his record 61 home runs in 1961. What is overlooked is that he was an outstanding right fielder. His fielding percentage was .978. He hit .265 with 541 runs batting while getting 203 home runs. He was an MVP in the right-field and an MVP in centerfield as well in 1961. He is one of a very few Yankees to win the MVP award several times. Maris, who came from the Athletics but his seven years with the Yankees, were his best years. After leaving the Yankees, he quickly faded away.

4. Dave Winfield

The hulking Dave Winfield was another Yankee that was a fan favorite. However, he didn’t have the best relationship with the New York Yankees’ primary owner George Steinbrenner and regularly fought with him. Winfield came to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in 1981 and hung around until 1990. During that time, he hit .290 with 818 runs batting in and 205 home runs. His 1300 as a Yankee was part of a career that produced 3,110 hits. While with the Yankees, he was an All-Star eight times and a five-time Gold Glover in right-field. Dave was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Reggie Jackson

George Steinbrenner, who was not shy when spending money, reached out into the new free-agent market and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles for just short of $3 million in 1976.  Jackson would later say:

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” the flamboyant Jackson said about Steinbrenner’s efforts after he signed a five‐year contract with the Yankees said to be worth $2.9 million. “Some clubs offered several hundred thousand dollars more. possibly seven figures more,‐ but the reason I’m a Yankee is that George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else.”

It was a cheap buy for Steinbrenner as Jackson turned out to be George’s best purchase.  However, Jackson was a controversial player with the Yankees; some loved him, some hated him.  That includes manager Billy Martin, catcher Thurman Munson, and Steinbrenner himself.  There were often fights for power amongst the three.  From Jackson in dugout fights with Martin and his hitting three homers in one game, he always wanted to be in the spotlight.

Regardless of what negative views fans of others had of him, he deserved the praise.  During his five years with the New York Yankees, he hit .281 with 144 home runs.  He had a 900 OPS.  He also had a .980 fielding percentage in right field for the Yankees.  Reggie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

2. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neill is unsung and unrewarded as a Yankee right-fielder, and many sportswriters would put him down a few notches on this list. But this writer feels he is one of the best players ever to grace the right-field at Yankees Stadium.  His batting average of .303 over nine years with the Yankees speaks for itself.  He hit for power, he hit for contact, and was the ultimate team player.  He consistently did what was needed to help his team.

O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001, he was part of four Yankee World Series Championships and contributed to all of them. During his time, the “Warrior” had 858 RBIs and hit 185 home runs while hitting nearly 1,500 hits.  Paul will probably not reach the Hall of Fame for his lack of home runs, but for his time with the Yankees, he owned the fans.  In his last game as a Yankee in 2001, it was the ninth inning, from the entire stadium all you hear for the whole inning was “Paulie” clap, clap, clap, clap, Paulie, clap, clap, clap, clap.

 

Since retiring from baseball, he has become an integral part of the YES Network broadcasting and analyzing Yankee games.

1.  Babe Ruth

There is not enough space in this article to talk about the achievements of Babe Ruth, he is not only my pick for the best New York Yankee right-fielder but for the best baseball player ever.  In what was called the worst trade in baseball history, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, being short on money, traded Babe Ruth away to the Yankees for $100,000 the day after Christmas in 1919.

Ruth would spend the next fifteen years with the Yankees.  Over the period he had a batting average of an incredible .349, with 659 home runs.  There was no other hitter like him then and since then.  He had a fielding percentage that averaged .965, which for that time was very good.  Ruth was an All-Star and a most valuable player back when awards weren’t as common as they are today.  Being a pitcher for the Red Sox, he even pitched to a winning percentage of 1.000 with a record of 5-0.

In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships.  In 1936 Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

 

Honorable mentions go to Jessie Barfield, Willie Keller, Tommy Henrich, and Giancarlo Stanton.

In selecting my top ten, I valued time with the club, performance as per Baseball-Reference.com.  Peak career performance and performance in postseason play was also a factor. Special situations like changing career positions were also a consideration.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Yankee blame game is in overdrive, fans want answers

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have lost in the postseason, again! That in itself is not horrific, but the operative word is again. It’s become again and again, and Yankee fans want to know why.  After all, it’s the New York Yankees; expectations are high. The Yankees are supposed to win the division, go to the ALDS and ALCS, and go on to a World Championship in the World Series. For Yankee fans, that hasn’t happened since 2009.

Now that the Yankees have lost again, the blame game’s wheels are rolling at full speed, as fans try to nail down what happened and what went wrong and who or what to blame. The most significant question fans have; is how does a team with one of the lowest payrolls beat the Yankees at every stage of the season.

  • Injuries:  Injuries have played a big part in the New York Yankees’ recent woes. In 2019 they had 38 injuries to 30 players. In this coronavirus shorted season, it was almost as bad, with several key players going on the IL for short periods. In the case of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton long periods make them miss substantial field time.  Add to that the team went the whole season without co-ace Luis Severino and last year’s winningness pitcher Domingo German who was out all season on a domestic violence suspension.
  • Gleyber Torres: After the 2019 season, the Yankees failed to re-sign free agent Didi Gregorius. They instead, decided to go with the young Gleyber Torres, knowing that his defense at short was suspect. That turned out to be true, as Torres committed the second-most errors in baseball. Add to that the 2019 home run leader just didn’t perform at the plate.
  • Aaron Judge: Slugger Aaron Judge is the most recognizable star on the team and for the most part was a no show, particularly late in the season and in the postseason. This is not the first year that the big hulking body of Judge just can’t stay free of injuries. He started out the season, okay hitting 9 home runs. But when he came back from injury, he never hit another home run from August 11 to the end of the season. In the postseason ALDS, he hit .143 in the ALDS, even worse in the ALCS at .111, not exactly superstar numbers. If you really wanted to blame Judge, you could say he was useless, which wouldn’t be far from wrong.
  • Gary Sanchez: Gary Sanchez was another player that was a waste of space in the lineup, and his defense at backstop wasn’t stellar either. Unfortunately for Sanchez, he has taken most of the flack for the team’s poor performance. He did hit 10 home runs, most early in the season, but his play was so bad he ended up getting sat several times as the postseason ended.  The front office brass is now questioning if he will be the New York Yankee catcher next year.
  • Aaron Boone: When you have the highest payroll in baseball, do you hire a manager with absolutely no managerial experience at any level in baseball.  Yes, if you are the Yankees, you do. Although Aaron Boone brought the Yankees to the postseason every year, he has failed in each of those postseason contests. Many fans wonder what Joe Girardi or a Buck Showalter could have done with this team full of stars. There is no question that Boone has made some questionable decisions, especially in the postseason. Is he to blame? The Yankees have made it known that they have no plans on replacing Boone.
  • Brian Cashman: Everyone likes to blame Brian Cashman because he, for the most part, put this team together. The only problem with blaming Cashman is, yes, he hires, but he doesn’t hit or pitch for the team; the players do.
  • Hal Steinbrenner: The final person to blame is the owner; after all, he is responsible for everything. You can’t say he doesn’t spend money to make the team better.  The Yankees have the highest payroll in all of baseball. This past offseason, he put out for the highest-paid baseball pitcher in history.  Yesterday he addressed the Yankee fans.
  • “I’m very disappointed, obviously,” Steinbrenner said during a radio interview. “We invested a lot of time, energy, money into the team last offseason, and we all felt that we had a team that could win a championship, and we failed to do that. We didn’t even come close. So right now, at this point in time, all I can do is apologize to our fans. They deserved a better outcome than they got. Period. I mean, they just did.”

  • Team philosophy: Everyone knows that the New York Yankee is a team built on the home run. The only problem with that is that when they don’t hit home runs, they usually lose.  That is what happened in the ALCS. The Yankees only had 10 home runs in the five-game series, four of them in the first game that they won. But the Tampa Bay Rays, one of the teams with the lowest payroll in baseball, manufactured runs all season long. The Rays beat the pants off the Yankees in the regular season, then took the division from them and, ultimately, the postseason as well.

It’s tough to dissect what is wrong with the Yankees. They spend the money to win a championship. So is it the players, the coaches, or the management? Like most things, it’s probably a combination of flaws. For a team with probably the best lineup in baseball, maybe the team needs a new hitting coach. As far as the players’ health, the Yankees completely revamped that department, hopefully, they will see the fruits of that change this coming season. Probably, the biggest issue that must be addressed in this offseason is that the Yankees must fix their pitching.

The Yankees want no more of this blame game, they just want a 28th World Championship for their club and fans. They will work diligently this offseason, to make that a reality.

New York Yankees Postseason Preview: Facing elimination tonight the Yankees have to get two more wins

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The New York Yankees are coming off two poorly hit games that were equally poorly pitched.  On Tuesday night, Deivi Garcia gave up one run and was replaced by J.A. Happ, who pitched poorly and blew the game. Last night the usually dependable Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have it and couldn’t locate his pitches; he gave up five runs in five innings.  If the Yankees pitch and hit like that have in the last two games against the Tampa Bay Rays, they will be going back to Yankees Stadium to clean out their lockers and call it another failed season.

Tonight will be possibly a deciding game at Petco Park between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS. The game at 4:10 pm PDT (7:10 pm EDT) will be played with a setting sun in San Diego. Like last night the sun may cause some issues early in the game.  I will be a near-perfect night for baseball with temperatures right about 70 degrees, with no chance of a shower. The game will be broadcast on TBS.

Tonight’s game will be as much a chess game between two managers with big decisions to be made as much as it will be a baseball game. The Tampa Bay Rays, out of starting pitchers, will start Ray’s reliever, Ryan Thompson vs. the Yankee’s Jordan Montgomery, who hasn’t pitched in nearly two weeks. Neither team is happy about their starters in the game, and both will be on a short leash in this huge game for both teams.

At the top of the first, Jordan Montgomery will take the Yankees’ mound, having not pitched at all in the postseason.  Tremendous pressure will be on “Monty” not to screw up because if he does, the Yankees season may be over. Montgomery, on the regular season, was 2-3 with an elevated ERA of 5.11. Jordan gave up seven earned runs in his last to starts of the regular season.

The Tampa Bay Rays will send out reliever Ryan Thompson to start their half of the first inning. The Rays will treat this as an opener game, something they are very experienced with.  Thompson is 1-2 with an ERA of 4.44. He hasn’t pitched more than two innings in any game this season. He pitched 2 clean innings in the game the Ray’s lost on Monday. This will be the first postseason start of his career.

Tampa Bay will come out tonight energized by their last two wins and ready to take the series from the Yankees. The Yankees have to come out with that same energy and conviction if they will have any chance of winning this game four.  The Yankees will pull out all the stops; they will use premium reliever Zack Britton, who they haven’t taken advantage of in the first three games of the ALDS. Deivi Garcia, who only pitched one inning, may be brought in in relief. Don’t be surprised to see Aroldis Chapman in earlier than expected. The Yankees will have to use every trick in the baseball book to prevent elimination tonight.

In the Wild Card Series, the Yankees looked like the Murder’s row.  They are going to have that same energy and offense exhibited in those games.  They have the talent, they have the power; they have to go out there and do it.

For the Yankees lineup, Giancarlo Stanton has been carrying the load pretty much by himself; he had hit a single and a homer last night, and two homers the night before.  Meanwhile, Yankee stars Aaron Judge, baseball’s batting champion DJ LeMahieu and home run leader Luke Voit have not contributed in any substantial way. They must find it and perform tonight to support the Yankee pitchers, as there is no tomorrow to work it out if the New York Yankees are to advance.

If the New York Yankees can win it tonight, they have a chance to win the ALDS when Yankees ace Gerrit Cole pitches on short rest on Friday night, probably against Blake Snell, who the Yankees have already bested.

More than just umpiring cost the New York Yankees in ALDS game two

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

The New York Yankees were unable to follow-up their ALDS game one victory over the Tampa Bay Rays with another win, dropping game two by a score of 7-to-5.

One of the headlines of the game was the poor performance from home-plate umpire CB Bucknor. He’s infamous for poor calls, and Tuesday’s game was no exception. The calls were brutal for both teams, but seemingly more so for the Yankees. He screwed the Yankees in big parts of the game. Check out this call on a pitch to Gleyber Torres in the ninth inning:

As bad as the umpiring was, it wasn’t the only reason the Yankees lost. The umpiring certainly contributed to it, but it was by no means the only reason for the loss.

Aaron Boone sent rookie Deivi Garcia out to start the game, the first postseason start of Garcia’s young career. But within three pitches, JA Happ was warming in the bullpen and came in after just one inning of work by Garcia. The Yankees were trailing 1-0 after one inning, but they had planned on having Happ piggy-back off Garcia early.

Happ isn’t comfortable in relief, and he’s on eight days rest. The hope was to take advantage of lefties in the Rays lineup by throwing the curveball of pitching Happ. The Yankees played with fire on this one, and got burnt. Happ gave up four runs in 2.2 innings, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Should Happ have been better? Absolutely. But, in his defense, pitching in relief isn’t always very comfortable for starters, especially after long rest. Pitchers get in a rhythm of starting every five days. His post-game interview expressed his displeasure of coming out of relief.

And now that the Yankees burnt two starters in an already depleted rotation in just one game, the team could have serious pitching problems in a potential game five. The speculation is that the Yankees will likely set Jordan Montgomery as the game four starter, but who starts game five? Gerrit Cole on three days rest? Garcia?

The other massive issue with Tuesday’s game was that the team struck-out 18 times. Does having a bad umpire affect your approach and the pitches that you swing at? Absolutely. But regardless of the umpire, 18 strikeouts in unacceptable. They only got five hits. That can’t happen, nonetheless in the postseason.

Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez looked lost all night, combining to go 0-for-9 with six strikeouts. Their at-bats were short with both players taking massive cuts each swing. They didn’t have a base-hit approach. They wanted to hit 500 foot home runs.

The only thing that the Yankees can take away from game two is the performance of Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton. Both players were great for the second-straight night; Stanton going yard twice while Hicks walked twice and picked up a hit.

Everyone in the Yankees clubhouse needs to erase game two from their memories completely. The game was just flat-out ugly in every aspect for them.

When they wake up on Wednesday, the Yankees have a three-game series facing them. Masahiro Tanaka, historically their best postseason pitcher, is on the mound. If the Yankees want to advance to the ALCS for the third time in four years, they desperately need to win game three against the Rays.

New York Yankees: Ray’s broadcasters suggest Judge and Stanton re-injury (Audio)

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have taken game one of the ALDS from the Tampa Bay Rays.  Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton had a big part in the win.  Judge hit a homer and Stanton a Grand Slam, and the Rays are not happy about it.  They admit that they were lucky taking 8 of 10 games from the Yankees when key players were injured and on the IL.  Now they are faced with an entirely different team that they haven’t had to face all season.

Today on Twitter, a Ray’s Radio Broadcast was released, wherein the broadcaster suggested that maybe Judge and Stanton should be injured while making plays on the field.  There is no question these two teams don’t like each other but suggest or hope that opposing players become injured so you can win is just sick.

Tonight at 8:10 pm EDT, the two teams will meet up again in San Diego in game two of the ALDS. New York Yankee prospect Deivi Garcia will be on the mound for the Yankees and Tyler Glasnow for the Tampa Bay Rays.  The game will be broadcast on TBS.

New York Yankees Postseason Recap: Judge and Stanton power Yankees to game 1 win in the ALDS

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

For the New York Yankees, the big bats were out, and the savages ravaged the Tampa Bay Rays late in the game to take game one of the 2020 five-game ALDS. What was supposed to be a pitching duel that really didn’t materialize. Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitched adequately but did not dominate in his six innings of work. The Tampa Bay Ray’s ace Blake Snell threw a lot of pitches and only lasted five innings giving up four runs and only striking out four Yankees.

After Blake Snell left the game, Ryan Thompson and Oliver Drake pitched two scoreless innings. But in the ninth inning with the Yankees ahead in the game by one run. Keven Cash,, the Tampa manager, made an extraordinary move. He brought in John Curtiss pitch the ninth inning.  Curtiss was making his major league pitching debut in the postseason.  The New York Yankees spoiled his debut, big time by hammering for five runs and the Yankee 9-3 win.  Gerrit Cole got the win, and Blake Snell took the loss for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The game started out with Snell throwing 10 pitches to DJ LeMahieu, who finally got a hit. LeMahieu ended up going 2 for 5 on the night.  Aaron Hicks had along sac fly, driving in LeMahieu, and Snell’s no runs in the first inning streak was over. At the bottom of the frame, Cole took the mound and gave up a homer to Randy Arozarena, and the game was tied at one until the third inning.  Leading off the third, Clint Frazier hit up Snell for a long ball way up in the left-field stands of Petco Park. The lead wouldn’t last as Yankee killer Ji-Man Choi homered in the bottom of the frame, and it was Tampa Bay 3 and the Yankees 2.

That Tampa Bay Rays lead wouldn’t last either as the New York Yankees knocked Blake Snell out of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Cole’s battery mate catcher Kyle Higashioka led off the with a giant homer to left field. Slugger Aaron Judge followed with a blast the also made the left-field stands, retaking the Yankee lead at 4-3. The next three innings remained scoreless for both teams.

At the top of the ninth, the New York Yankees made it a no-doubter. With Higashioka on base, Aaron Hicks singled, driving in Higgy.  With the bases now loaded, Giancarlo Stanton Grand Slammed off Curtiss blowing the game open for the Yankees’ final score of 9-3. Luis Cessa came in at the bottom of the night and closed it out for the Yankees, and they took the first game of the ALDS in San Diego.

When the Yankees hit home runs, they win games, and last night they hit four long balls; Higashioka, Judge, Frazier, and Giancarlo Stanton all contributed to that home run total.  Gerrit Cole went six innings striking out eight Rays; it was the first time a starter had back to back 8 strike out games in the postseason. The Bronx Bombers also, became the first team in American League history to hit a grand slam in back-to-back playoff games. Gio Urshela connected in Game 2 of the first-round sweep against Cleveland and Giancarlo Stanton did it last night.

It was a big night for the Yankees. Tonight in somewhat a surprise move Yankee manager Aaron Boone will send out rookie Deivi Garcia to pitch Game 2 of the ALDS, most would have thought Masahiro Tanaka would pitch in the second game, but Boone is going with Garcia who has earned Boone’s support.  The Tampa Bay Rays saw last night that the are not playing against the same team the dominated in the regular season.  Game two will be at 8:10 pm on TBS.

 

 

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge: “Pressure is a privilege”

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

If you think about Aaron Judge’s first at-bat this postseason against Shane Bieber, you wouldn’t think that he was forced to miss most of the season with a calf issue and that his rhythm and timing were never altered by the injury. He homered against the likely AL Cy Young and set the tone for the New York Yankees to sweep the Cleveland Indians.

The Yankees’ slugger recently talked to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com and said that, in his view, the real season is about to begin.

“To me, the regular season is kind of like Spring Training,” Judge said. “The real season is the playoffs. You want to see a team that shows up in the postseason. That’s what we’re going to see.”

However, baseball is a game of reps and, for batters, timing. That home run against Bieber, that gave the New York Yankees a 2-0 lead before Gerrit Cole even threw a pitch, ended up being Judge’s only hit of the series.

He’s been struggling to get his timing back, and used the final 10 games of the regular season to rediscover his craft.

“There was never any concern,” Judge said. “We didn’t really have any chance to have rehab games to work the kinks out, see pitches, put the ball in play. We got thrown right into games going down the stretch when it mattered. I wasn’t too concerned about trying to hit home runs. Once the postseason comes, I’d be ready to go.”

Yankees duo worked hard to regain rhythm

Judge and fellow Yankees’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who also recently came off the injured list, have worked a lot to get their mojo back. Before the Cleveland series, they spent additional time with hitting coach Marcus Thames using the high-velocity machine.

Now, Judge has spent several days getting used to Petco Field in San Diego, where the New York Yankees will play the Tampa Bay Rays in a best-of-five series, starting today. He’s checking ball bounces, angles, and the outfield walls.

“We’ve got a lot of homework to do,” Judge said. “We’re excited for it. Pressure is a privilege. There’s going to be a lot of pressure situations that we get thrown into throughout this postseason. I think that’s what makes this team so special. We’re not running from those bases loaded, two outs, game on the line spots. We’re embracing them.”

Aaron Judge happy to ‘set the tone’ for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton

Just after DJ LeMahieu opened the game with a hard-hit single to right field, New York Yankees‘ outfielder Aaron Judge was in the batters’ box. He had a good season (.257/.336/.554 and a .891 OPS with nine home runs) but couldn’t stay in the field for more than 28 games.

He was cruising along until a calf issue derailed his season. He returned, aggravated the issue and had to miss almost twice as much time. When he got back to the New York Yankees’ active roster, he struggled to produce as he shook the rust associated with missing so many games.

Anyway, back to yesterday’s game. Right after LeMahieu singled to start the game against virtual Cy Young lock and possible MVP Shane Bieber, Judge deposited one of the righty’s pitches into the right-center field stands for an improbable two-run home run. The Yankees were up 2-0.

“It’s a special feeling, especially against a guy that is most likely going to win the Cy Young [Award] this year,” Judge said to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “I knew that DJ was going to get on for me, and if I got a mistake, don’t miss it. I just wanted to set the tone for what we’re going to do this postseason.”

The Yankees attacked early with a left jab and a right hook

Gerrit Cole, who won the game by virtue of pitching seven frames of two-run baseball with 13 strikeouts, described the sequence as a “left jab and a right hook,” putting it in boxing terms. The Yankees had struck first.

Bieber, as unlikely as it sounds, battled with command and made some mistakes, which the Yankees made a point in crushing.

“We had a long hitters’ meeting about sticking to the same plan, trying to work long counts,” Judge said. “That’s when this team is dangerous, when we go out there and grind out at-bats. Any mistakes that are thrown up there, we hammer them.”

Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton also left the yard but Judge showed them the way.

Which are MLB’s most popular jerseys? The New York Yankees have several names on the list

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

New York Yankees‘ slugger Aaron Judge may not have had the most successful season health-wise. He almost missed the start of the season with a rib/lung issue that he battled for months, and he has missed two large chunks of the year while recovering from a grade 1 calf strain that he latter aggravated.

However, the fact that he hasn’t been able to stay on the field didn’t prevent him from seeing his name in the list of most popular jerseys in the Major League Baseball universe.

The New York Yankees, of course, are no strangers to famous players who are stars in the field and also very popular outside of it. Judge, in particular, isn’t very talkative, but he is committed to the community, and his legendary power and cannon of an arm in right field do the talking.

The Yankees’ outfielder was only bested by Betts

The Yankees’ outfielder had the second most popular jersey in the league behind Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Mookie Betts, who moved to LA after several successful seasons with the Boston Red Sox.

The list was released jointly on Friday by MLB and Major League Baseball Players, Inc., and was based on sales of jerseys from MLBShop.com, which is the official online shop of Major League Baseball, since Opening Day.

Fellow Yankee Giancarlo Stanton checked in at number 16 in the ranking, while stellar free agent signing Gerrit Cole was in the 19th position.

Most Popular MLB Player Jerseys of 2020

1) Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
3) Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
4) Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
5) Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
6) Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
7) Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
8) Javier Báez, Chicago Cubs
9) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
10) Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
11) Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
12) Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
13) Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
14) Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
15) Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
16) Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees
17) Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
18) Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
19) Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
20) Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

New York Yankees: ‘Pain-free’ Judge aims to regain his form before the playoffs

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The 2020 season has been a tough one for New York Yankees‘ right fielder Aaron Judge. Not because he hasn’t produced; he has. However, he hasn’t been able to stay in one piece and play in the majority of the team’s games so far in the shortened 2020 season.

First, he was limited by a rib/lung injury for much of the spring and part of the summer. He was ready in time to start the season, but he suffered a couple of calf strains that robbed him too much playing time for his taste.

After re-aggravating the issue, he has already returned to the New York Yankees’ active roster, just in time to get a week’s worth of at-bats before the playoffs and try to regain the form that made him one of the most feared elements of the Bombers’ lineup.

When healthy, Judge has mashed in 2020. He has a .256/.315/.610 line with a .383 wOBA and a 145 wRC+. In 22 games and 90 plate appearances, the hulking outfielder has nine home runs, 18 runs and 20 RBI.

The Yankees need him to get in a groove

He claims he is pain-free. “It’s good to see him moving so well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said to MLB.com on Tuesday. “For him, it’s just racking up those at-bats and really locking in. He’s gotten to a lot of deep counts, a couple of balls that he’s had a chance to do something with. As he sees more pitches, he’s close to locking it in.”

He has played in a handful of games since returning from the injury last week, and it is clear that he is still rusty, collecting just two hits in 17 at-bats. But as long as he has no pain, it is a matter of time for him to heat up.

“I’ve been able to run around pain-free, no problem,” Judge said. “I’m feeling good in the box. It’s going to take four or five games for me to get the timing back. I didn’t have a chance to get a lot of live at-bats like Scranton or playing in Triple-A right now, so I’m getting back slowly but surely.”