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Yankees Highlights: Aaron Judge saves the day

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This game was dumb, and then Aaron Judge showed up.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

I had this post finished, waiting to publish, when the Yankees came up to bat in the top of the ninth. It was a bit of a downer, with a lot of blame on J.A. Happ and Jonathan Loaisiga. You can’t hold it against me; that annoying rain delay colored my mood.

But then Aaron Judge happened.

Goodness.

The Big Baseball Boy came up with the biggest hit of the season to date, and he flipped a disappointing night into a darn fun one. Consider why he’s tonights....

Winner of the Game

The original Winner of the Game:

The Yankees had John Means on the ropes in the first inning. The southpaw found himself with the bases loaded, having already allowed a run, with a pitch count approaching 30. His season debut was delayed because of a dead arm, so it stood to reason he would run out of gas soon and lob one in. He did, and Luke Voit made him pay, notching a first-inning grand slam to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead.

Few things excite me more than a Luke hop.

Honorable Mention: Giancarlo Stanton, whose revenge tour continues with a 3-for-4 night.

Loser of the Game

I regret to inform you that the Yankees still have a J.A. Happ problem. The 37-year-old allowed four runs in four innings of work, serving up two home runs in the process. Happ struggled with the home-run ball all last year, and this isn’t the most encouraging way to start a new season.

The bad news continues, though, because the Yankees continue to confuse Jonathan Loaisiga with a high-leverage reliever. Aaron Boone turned to Loaisiga after the rain delay, then proceeded to ride him for three (THREE!) innings. The right-hander worked in and out of trouble nearly the entire time, and yet he was still called on to pitch the eighth inning when someone like, let’s say, Tommy Kahnle was available. I am admittedly the low man on Loaisiga, so this is probably harsh, but come on. Use the Bullpen of Doom for once.

Honorable Mention: I could have done without that rain delay, or at least just call the game. I get it, the Orioles were close, but come on. Long rain delays should not happen in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chart

Credit: FanGraphs

Since it’s late, our full recap will be up in the morning. Get some rest, everyone.