Aaron Judge hits record-breaking 62nd home run


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ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 4: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees smiles as he rounds the bases after hitting his 62nd home run of the season against the Texas Rangers during the first inning in game two of a double header at Globe Life Field on October 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. Judge has now set the American League record for home runs in a single season. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Ryan Tanwar, Sports Writer

Aaron Judge hits home run number 62 and it feels so good

Aaron Judge hit his American League record-breaking 62nd home run of the season after a week of not getting pitched to.

Pitchers refuse to throw anything up in the zone and only challenged him after throwing multiple off-speed pitches that were down in the zone during the count.

Judge walked a whopping 18 times in 58 plate appearances during that span which included a three-walk night against the Boston Red Sox and a second career four-walk night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Judge was also intentionally walked in high-leverage situations.

According to Statcast and Baseball Savant, Judge was thrown 239 pitches in the “homerunless” span.

Judge was thrown 149 off-speed pitches. 176 were down and away in the lower heart of the zone and 123 pitches were balls.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Judge as he struck out 15 times during the 60 – 62 span and unusually tried to pull the ball more and hit more opposite-field home runs.

It was a strange approach as it seemed Judge was worried he would let the fans down by not being able to break the 61-year-old record.

This chase had casual fans wondering: why did every pitcher before Tim Mayza refuse to challenge Judge?

The answer is both complicated and straightforward.

The short answer is that analytics have played a huge part in deciding how to face batters. It’s easier to walk Judge when he is having a historic season and pitch to the batters before and after him. The Yankees had Judge bat leadoff to get more at-bats but this led to more walks.

The complicated answer is that a lot of pitchers refused to become the “answer to a trivia question”. This, of course, made not only die-hard baseball fans confused but also made casual fans angry.

The main pitcher in question was Kevin Gausman, who is one of the better pitchers in the American League East. Gausman told reporters in his post-game presser he did not want to become the “answer to a trivia question”.

Pitcher Eric Stout was also criticized heavily after he walked Judge on four pitches low and away while down 11- 2 in the bottom of the eighth.

The Texas Rangers made it clear that given the situation, they would pitch to Judge and give him a fair chance to hit number 62. On the second to last game of the regular season, Judge made history.

Judge compiled a historic season across the board and led in most major hitting categories such as home runs at 62. This is 16 more than Kyle Schwarber in second place. Judge’s runs batted in is 131 which tied Pete Alonso. His total bases at 391 is 66 more than second-place Austin Riley. Finally, Judge’s on-base plus slugging percentage is an insane 1.111.

Judge and the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium tomorrow at 1:07 p.m.