Judge still swinging & miss­ing

New York Post - - SPORTS - By DAN MARTIN

CLEVE­LAND — All year long, Aaron Judge has said his high num­ber of strike­outs doesn’t bother him, and even through the first four games of the ALDS, he in­sisted he wasn’t con­cerned by the huge amount of strike­outs he had amassed.

But with four more whiffs in Wednesday night’s 5-2 win over the In­di­ans in Game 5 of the ALDS at Pro­gres­sive Field, it’s clear there’s an is­sue with the Yan­kees right fielder, who went 1for-20 with 16 strike­outs in the se­ries.

His lone hit was a key, two-run dou­ble in their Game 4 vic­tory, but after strik­ing out four times in a game just once in the reg­u­lar sea­son, he did it three times against the In­di­ans.

For the most part, the record-set­ting rookie, who hit 52 homers in the reg­u­lar sea­son, was in­vis­i­ble.

The Yan­kees came back against the In­di­ans thanks to start­ing pitch­ing and some big hits by Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez — and, on Wednesday, Didi Gre­go­rius.

“We pick each other up,” Judge said. “I didn’t have my best se­ries, but the most im­por­tant thing is we’re going to Hous­ton for ALCS.”

Judge con­tin­ued to strug­gle Wednesday, strik­ing out swinging on a 3-2 pitch in the first and again in the third, both against Corey Klu­ber. He went down swinging again in the fifth ver­sus An­drew Miller.

Fac­ing Bryan Shaw in the sixth, with one out and Brett Gard­ner on first, Judge stared at a called strike three, while Gard­ner was caught try­ing to steal sec­ond to end the in­ning.

“We’ve re­lied on him all year, so it’s about time we’ve got him,” Gard­ner said. “When you’re win­ning and you don’t do well, you don’t take it so bad. He’s got a good head on his shoul­ders. He’ll be ready in the next round and I’m sure he’ll de­liver.”

“I’m just miss­ing my pitch,” Judge said. “They didn’t make too mis­takes. But it’s not tough for me. I’ve been through this be­fore. Ev­ery­one has. Guys were able to pick me up when I wasn’t able to get the job done.”

It’s been a stun­ning re­gres­sion for Judge, who fol­lowed a dom­i­nant first half by fall­ing into an epic slump in July and Au­gust, only to come out of it with a bril­liant Septem­ber, when he hit 13 homers.


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