With the New York Yankees down 5-3 in Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning, Aaron Judge became the hero in Yankee Stadium, with a three-run, walk-off home run against closer Jordan Romano.
It was a moonshot off a hanging slider that caught too much of the plate, a mammoth drive to left field that sent the stadium into a state of frenzy.
The Yankees won 6-5 with that dinger, and reached an AL-best 21-8 record.
It was the 168th home run of Judge’s career.
Oddly enough, none of the 167 previous ones had been of the walk-off variety.
“Interesting fact from @EliasSports– Aaron Judge had hit 167 HRs without a walk-off HR. That was the third-most in Yankees history, behind Lou Gehrig (260) and Mark Teixeira (205),” MLB.com’s beat writer for the Yankees Bryan Hoch tweeted.
Hitting a walk-off home run is never easy: it usually means facing the other team’s best late-inning relievers.
But to think a talent like Judge took so long to hit one is odd and surprising.
The Yankees Might Regret Not Extending Him
In any case, he has one now, and what a home run it was.
The 2022 Yankees just look like an awfully difficult team to beat.
Judge, in turn, is showing that his decision to turn down a $213 million contract extension was a wise one.
If he keeps his current performance level, it’s not outrageous to think he can approach or surpass $300 million.
He is already 30, but looks like he is at the top of his abilities.
After last night’s showing, he is slashing .290/.356/.626, and was the first MLB hitter to reach 10 home runs in 2022.
The Yankees might regret not going a bit higher in their preseason bid.