Plenty of pregame coverage prior to the Wild Card matchup between the Yankees and Athletics was about Aaron Judge. A decent chunk of that mentioned his performance since coming off the DL. While he didn’t play great, it seemed like he was good to go.
In the Wild Card Game, Judge reached base three times, picking up two extra-base hits and a walk. His first-inning home run gave the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish. For that, he earns our MVP honors for the Yankees’ Wild Card Game win.
After a perfect top of the first inning from Luis Severino, Andrew McCutchen started things off with a walk bringing Judge to the plate. Our big baseball boy then did what he does best.
Not only did the home runs give the Yankees the lead, it also was a bit of history. Judge is now the first player to have homered in two Wild Card Games. Yes, they’ve only been around since 2012, but it’s still history nonetheless.
He wasn’t the one who dealt the big blow, but Judge was also the one to get things started when the Yankees opened up a six-run lead in the sixth. He hit one of the weirdest doubles you’ll see when he led off the frame.
The crazy spin allowed him to reach base and get him in scoring position for what happened next. Aaron Hicks added a double, scoring Judge to put the Yankees up 3-0. By the end of the inning, the Yankees were up six, and the A’s would never get much closer after that. For good measure, Judge reached base a third time, drawing a walk in the seventh.
There is plenty of praise to go around. You could make an argument for Luis Severino being the game’s MVP, after he started things off with four scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. If you want to go strictly on winning percentage added, Dellin Betances threw two scoreless inning and cleaned up for Severino, who left a couple runners on while the Yankees lead was still pretty slim. Also, there’s Luke Voit, who hit the bases-clearing triple that seemingly put things away for good. All good possible choices for this distinction.
Aaron Judge, however, got things going. And in large part because of him, the Yankees are headed to Boston.