The Yankees are almost certain not to qualify for the playoffs, coming off a season that general manager Brian Cashman called a “disaster,” and changed their September games to open tryouts for next year.
But either way, 39,143 fans gathered in the Bronx on Friday, hoping to see the Yankees’ biggest attraction literally come true.
Aaron Judge answered the phone again. The captain hit his second triple home run of the season in a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks, becoming the first player in Yankees history to hit three home runs in multiple games in a year. Judge height and club depth.
On Thursday, the Yankees were reminded that they wasted Gerrit Cole’s prime years. Cole pitched well that night and was well placed to win the American League Cy Young Award.
Even though he lost a lot of time that night to a torn ligament in his right big toe, it was the judge who reminded him that his kind of advantage shouldn’t go to waste.
The right fielder has hit 35 home runs in 100 games, which works out to 57 home runs per year over a full season.
He played in two games in June and three in July, but after Friday’s play he was tied for third in the AL in home runs.
One season after setting the Yankees and American League all-time record with 62 at-bats, Judge is looking to do it again.
But this season will be remembered as incomplete, as the superstar suffered a toe injury in early June that sidelined him for about eight weeks.
He left a 35-25 team and returned to a 54-48 club that continued to slide until it fell out of the playoff chase.
The Yankees (78 wins, 76 losses) were still mathematically within striking distance, but just barely.
Judge played as if his breathing was the only thing keeping him alive this season.
The right fielder recorded 4 hits for 4 and 6 RBIs, making it his worst at-bat as he hit a double in the first inning.
In the end he got stuck and didn’t want it to happen again.
In the third inning, with two runners on base, Judge took a first-pitch sinker from Brandon Furt and placed it 420 feet to right-center field, putting the Yankees up 3-0.
In the fifth inning, Judge pushed a fastball up the middle from Puffert into the same area in right-center for a 6-0 lead.
The 7th inning was the same with a different pitcher. He deflected Slade Cecconi’s 168.4 mph fastball off Judge’s bat and fired a solo shot into the second deck of the right field seats, bringing the cheering stadium crowd to its feet once again.
The next batter, Gleyber Torres, used a timeout to allow the team’s captain to take a curtain call on the night he hit an estimated 1,182-foot home run.
The supporting cast of judges reminded us that there are no stakes in this game. Starting pitcher Luke Weaver, who was claimed off waivers earlier this month, shut out the Diamondbacks in 5 1/3 innings.
The Yankees’ only non-Judge RBI was a fifth-inning double by Esteban Florial, who spent the season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
This season was a failure, but that failure didn’t extend to the entire team, which is why Yankee Stadium was packed, even on Friday.