Red Sox fans are going to have nightmares about this fucking behemoth for a long, long time.
Last year, Aaron Judge made his major league debut by massacring a baseball for a home run in his first big league at-bat. The one major knock on Judge last year was that he struck out in exactly half of his 84 at-bats. That, and he ended up finishing the season hitting .174 with a .608 OPS. Somewhat alarming if you don’t know Judge’s history. More of a wait and see situation if you do. If you do know his history, then you’d know that Judge has struggled at every level initially after being promoted. But once he settles in, watch the fuck out.
Kinda like, oh I don’t know, the 2017 regular season. After joining the Yankees in mid-August last summer, he popped four homers, but his numbers overall were pretty disappointing. This year? He’s hitting .281 with a 1.024 OPS and his 7 home runs lead the American League. Oh, and he’s cut down his strikeout percentage to 28%, which still isn’t ideal, but certainly shows an improvement from where he was last year.
If you’re a Red Sox fan, then you saw last night that the Yankees are going to be a problem. More specifically, Aaron Judge is going to be a problem, so get used to saying “Aaron fucking Judge”, kinda like when he tumbled into the stands making a catch along the right field line, which he actually had to end up in the seats in order to catch. Looking at you, Derek Jeter.
But on the Red Sox front, their offense continues to sputter. They scored 6 runs on Sunday against Baltimore, but the larger recent sample has been very poor. Over their last six games in which they’re 2-4, the Red Sox are hitting .216 with a .584 OPS, both rank 27th out of 30 major league teams over that span. Over that same clip, they’re hitting .119 with a .410 OPS with runners in scoring position, which both rank dead last in the majors.
Your everyday Red Sox fans can’t help themselves from throwing their hands up and saying that this team can’t hit and that they’re doomed, but this is just a tough stretch for a team that sure as shit can hit the ball, but for whatever reason just isn’t doing that right now. Your top four hitters in the lineup last night — Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland — are hitting a combined .323 wit a .843 OPS on the year. The rest of the lineup just hasn’t really got it going yet.
Hanley Ramirez has been a pretty big disappointment to start the year. He was 1-for-3 last night with a walk, but he’s hitting .215 with a .589 and just one homer. Kind of unfair to highlight the low home run total when the whole team has struggled mightily in that department. Sandy Leon has fallen off a cliff, too. Over his first 6 games, he was hitting .348 with a .913 OPS, but over his last 7 games, he’s hitting .042 with a .122 OPS. He’s 1-for-24 with a single over that span. That’s ugly.
Rick Porcello looked solid again last night. I was afraid that this was going to happen — Porcello winning the Cy Young award and then expectations would be too high for him — but I think the word that’s fair to use for him outside of that 8 earned run, four home run blunder against the Rays is “solid”. Aside from that start, he’s given you at least 6 innings and three earned runs or fewer in his four other starts. Last night, Porcello went 6.2 innings, allowed just two earned runs, which both came on that Judge homer, while punching out nine batters. You’ll take that from Porcello ten times out of ten.
The Red Sox gave Aroldis Chapman a scare in the bottom of the ninth after the inning started off with a walk to Benintendi and a double off the bat of Betts. Their lone run of the night was scored on a very anti-climactic ground out. Boston did, however, bring the winning run to the plate after Chapman walked Hanley, but then he punched out Jackie Bradley Jr. and Josh Rutledge to put the kibosh on any ninth inning comeback hopes.
Final score: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1