With history made, the New York Yankees now have a decision to make regarding Aaron Judge on Wednesday in the regular-season finale against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
Will Judge get the day off or be in the lineup with one last chance to add to his new American League home run record?
In Game 2 of a Tuesday doubleheader, Judge set the AL single-season homer mark by socking his 62nd in the first inning off right-hander Jesus Tinoco. Judge had been tied with Roger Maris, whose record of 61 stood for 61 years.
Judge leads the AL in homers and RBIs (131), and his .311 batting average is second to the .315 average of the Minnesota Twins’ Luis Arraez.
“Just an all-time great season,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s been the leader of this team, for a division-winning team, one for which he’s gotten big hit after big hit. I think it’s a historically great season and one we’ll talk about when we’re long gone.”
Judge caught up to Tinoco’s third pitch on his towering home run to left.
“I had a good feeling off the bat,” Judge said. “I just didn’t know where it was going to land or what it was going to hit. There was a good sense of relief once I saw it in that fan’s glove.”
For the Rangers (67-94), the season finale raises another question. Will this be interim manager Tony Beasley’s final game? Beasley is 16-31 since replacing Chris Woodward, including a 3-2 over New York on Tuesday.
Beasley is expected to be a candidate for the permanent job, but the Rangers are expected to weigh other options.
The pitchers for the regular-season finale are New York right-hander Domingo German (2-4, 3.31 ERA) and Texas right-hander Glenn Otto (6-10, 4.72).
German, making his 14th start and 15th appearance of the season, is seeking his first win since Aug. 22 against the New York Mets. He is 0-2 in his past seven outings (six starts) despite compiling a 2.70 ERA in that span.
The 30-year-old is 0-3 with a 2.86 ERA in seven road games on the season. In two career starts against the Rangers, German is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA.
Otto is closing out his first full season with the Rangers. The 26-year-old who attended Rice originally was drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round in 2017.
The Rangers obtained Otto from the Yankees on July 29, 2021, as part of the trade that sent Joey Gallo to New York. Also in that deal, the Rangers acquired infielders Josh H. Smith and Ezequiel Duran. Lefty reliever Joely Rodriguez and cash also went to New York.
Otto has faced his former organization once this season, on May 8 in a no-decision when he allowed two runs in five innings.
Otto might have to contend with Judge and Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 31st homer in the nightcap on Tuesday.
For Texas, Marcus Semien stole his 25th base, giving him a 25/25 season. The second baseman has 26 homers.
Judge’s pursuit of home run No. 62 created plenty of excitement at Globe Life Field. Beasley feels his young squad will benefit from playing in an energized atmosphere.
“This is the environment we want to play in, going forward,” Beasley said on the Rangers’ pregame radio show. “We don’t intend to be the team that’s not in the playoffs this upcoming year, so this is a taste of what the atmosphere is like.”
The Yankees (99-62) will have five days off after Wednesday before opening the AL Division Series at home against either the Cleveland Guardians (91-70) or the Tampa Bay Rays (86-75).
–Field Level Media