It’s back to the Bronx for Aaron Judge and the Yankees as slugger aims for No. 62 – The Denver Post

Aaron Judge will surely get a hero’s welcome when he returns home to the Bronx on Friday night. And further history may be in the making as No. 99 needs just one more — as John Sterling would say — “Judgian blast” to break the American League all-time single-season home run record of 61.

Fans lucky enough to have tickets should be licking their chops as Judge has a favorable matchup this weekend against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees’ slugging superstar is slashing .397/.453/.931 with nine homers in 15 games against the O’s this season.

Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde has Jordan Lyles, Austin Voth and Kyle Bradish lined up for the weekend series. While Judge has not faced Voth or Bradish this season, he is very familiar with Lyles who is Friday’s starter on short rest.

Judge has five hits in 14 at-bats against Lyles this season. Two of those hits were homers.

Fans at Yankee Stadium will lose their collective mind should Judge break the record at home on Friday night. While Judge played it cool most of the time giving off the impression that homers don’t matter to him, he let the truth free following his historic effort Wednesday night in Toronto.

“Definitely some relief, getting to 61,” Judge said. “You try not to think about it but it creeps into your head. It’s a chance to tie Roger Maris. It’s the stuff you dream about. It’s not even real.”

The weight of Maris’ mark on his shoulders certainly was indicated by his performance. In between Nos. 60 and 61 was a .263/.548/.421 slash line. For most, those are All-Star and career-best statistics, for Judge — especially in the midst of this monster season — those are pedestrian numbers.

Granted, there was a clear reluctance by pitchers to be the answer to a trivia question 50 years down the line as Judge was walked 12 times in seven games — even being walked four times on Tuesday night.

However, with the admitted pressure to reach No. 61 gone, a home run barrage may be in the forecast. The last time Judge went seven or more games without a homer, he hit three of them in the next four games. His home runs come in bunches. In 62 games since the All-Star break Judge has hit 28 home runs, nearly a home run every other game.

If 61 home runs remains the AL record after Friday night’s game, Judge will have a pair of afternoon games the following two days to become the record-holder at home. While the outfielder has done most of his damage at night — 44 homers in 104 games — he has had considerable success during the day slashing .324/.442/.671 with 17 homers in 47 games.

There haven’t been many similarities between Judge and Maris’ march for history. The 30-year-old is currently in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in MLB history as he has the AL Triple Crown in his sights. However, breaking the record at Yankee Stadium, just as Roger Maris Jr.’s father did, would make this season a little more special.

“The city of New York deserves it. The fans deserve it,” said Maris Jr. “It will be great for baseball if it happens in New York. Like I mentioned to Aaron, ‘Get to New York and hit 62, and knock the top off Yankee Stadium.’”


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