New York Yankees star Aaron Judge is in the midst of a slump at the plate. Oddly enough, Judge has been struggling ever since Giancarlo Stanton landed on the injured list last week. Coincidence? Possibly, but there’s a good chance that Stanton’s absence is directly impacting Judge.
Aaron Judge is slashing just .138/.235/.276 with one home run and 12 strikeouts in eight games since Stanton was placed on the IL, per Bryan Hoch. The 12 strikeouts standout without question. It’s Aaron Judge we are talking about, the Yankees’ reigning AL MVP, so of course there’s still going to be a home run in the mix. Nevertheless, it is clear that Judge is laboring at the plate.
So why would he struggle amid the absence of Stanton?
The Yankees lost to the Minnesota Twins on Monday by a final score of 6-1. New York’s lineup provides an example of why Judge may be struggling, even though he doubled in Monday’s defeat.
Giancarlo Stanton provided extra protection for him. Opposing pitchers didn’t want to risk walking Judge, which led to better pitches to hit with Stanton looming behind him in the lineup. Now with Stanton on the IL, opponents aren’t as concerned about the Yankees’ lineup. On Monday, Judge hit second in the batting order behind Anthony Volpe. Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu all followed him.
Although all three of those players are talented, they don’t exactly strike fear into opposing pitchers at this stage of their respective careers. There isn’t any reason for pitchers to risk giving Judge a good pitch to hit right now. They can consistently throw pitches out of the zone while relying on breaking balls rather than fastballs. If Judge walks, then it isn’t a big deal for them.
The Yankees need to add another star in their lineup. Giancarlo Stanton’s concerning injury history will be problematic for both himself and Judge moving forward.
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