New York Post

Judge enters K zone at worst possible time


CLEVELANDC — Aaron JudgeJu rose to the occasionsi­o in his first postseason­so game, when he homereder against the Twins on Tuesday night in The BronxBr to help propel the YankeesYa into the ALDS. ButB on Thursday, the rookiero right fielder floundered.flo JudgeJ struck out four times,tim twice looking, in theth Yankees’ 4-0 Game 1 losslo to the Indians at Progressiv­ePr Field. TheT most damaging whiffwh came in the eighth,eig when the Yankeeske had two on and twotw out after Andrew MillerM walked a pair beforebe being replaced by Cody AllAllen.

Judge couldn’t deliver and the threat was over.

“I want go out there and do my job,” Judge said of his approach. “I came up short.”

“I mean, he just missed a few pitches,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he had some good swings tonight, and he’ll be back [Friday].”

And while Judge led the majors with 208 strikeouts, he only fanned four times in a game once previously this season — against Tampa Bay on May 21.

Facing right-hander Trevor Bauer on Thursday, Judge whiffed in the first inning then went down swinging in the fourth, but he reached first base thanks to a Bauer wild pitch on strike three. He quickly was erased on Gary Sanchez’s double play.

In the sixth against Bauer, Judge took a called third strike to end the inning with Aaron Hicks on third and uncharacte­ristically looked back at home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza.

“I thought they were off the plate,” Judge said of the questionab­le pitches. “I haven’t been able to check out the video. Bauer was out there making pitches.”

For a lineup that often starts or stops depending on what kind of production Judge provides, it was the last thing the Yankees needed. And he didn’t get any help.

Bauer held the Yankees hitless until Hicks doubled to left with one out in the sixth, becoming the first runner they got in scoring position.

Hicks moved to third on a ground out by Brett Gardner, but Judge couldn’t get him home.

Like the rest of the Yankees, Judge had a much tougher time with the Indians and Bauer than he did with Ervin Santana and the Twins in the wild-card game, when Judge singled in the first and homered in the fourth to help seal the comeback victory.

Now, Judge and the Yankees face a 1-0 deficit heading into Friday’s Game 2, when Cleveland will have its ace, Corey Kluber, on the mound.

Judge had a hit and two walks against Bauer during the regular season and never has faced the right-handed Kluber — missing both games Kluber pitched against the Yankees.

Judge knows that makes Friday’s task even more challengin­g.

“You’d rather get at-bats against them,” Judge said of going up against Kluber. “I’ll watch some video, prepare and get ready.”

 ?? AP ?? FOUR BAGGER: Aaron Judge went 0for-4 with four strikeouts Thursday in the Yankees’ 4-0 loss to Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS.
AP FOUR BAGGER: Aaron Judge went 0for-4 with four strikeouts Thursday in the Yankees’ 4-0 loss to Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS.
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