Yankees Aaron Judge amazing those around him with home run ability amid chase for 61

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Aaron Judge Yankees
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 5, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

There may be just one person in all of baseball that doesn’t want to discuss Aaron Judge’s race toward Roger Maris’ home run record, and that’s Aaron Judge himself. 

The Yankees slugger simply smiles and drives the conversation back to his team and their chase to win a World Series for the first time since 2009. His latest moonshot came on Sunday to break a 2-2 tie with the Minnesota Twins and helped lead New York to a crucial win as they try to rebuild their once enormous lead in the AL East. 

“It’s just not important to me,” Judge said Sunday. “What’s important to me is winning this division first off, and putting our team in a good position for the postseason. It’s not all about me. If I go 0-4 or 4-4, it’s not all about me. One guy can’t win or lose you a ballgame. All those accolades are off-season talk. We have to focus and today we came out here and played a great ballgame.”

Sunday’s home run moved Judge within seven home runs of Maris’ record and he could be even closer by the time New York’s current four-game set with the Twins comes to an end on Thursday. Rain forced Major League Baseball to postpone Tuesday’s game and pushed New York and Minnesota to play a doubleheader on Wednesday. 

While the Yankees have hit a slide since the All-Star break, which included a cooldown for Judge as well, he has remained one of their most important pieces that have dictated how the offense plays on many nights. Judge has homered in five of his last seven games and New York has gone 3-2 in those games that he knocks the ball out of the park.

“It just gets more and more amazing with what he is doing. It really does,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He doesn’t get pitched to much, but he’s ready when it is there. It’s getting hard to put into words what he’s doing, but a great swing on the first one to get us started with the double, and obviously on the tiebreaker. Just a special season he’s in the midst of.”

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And while the Yankees have a title on their minds, even Boone has been mesmerized by the play of the potential free agent.

“It would be pretty amazing,” Boone responded when asked how it would feel to witness history. “I think when you put it in context where the league is at and where the next guy is at. I think Yordon (Álvarez) is at 31 home runs…that’s amazing when you put it in that context.”