Will Aaron Judge tie or break Roger Maris’ American League home-run record during Red Sox series?
Aaron Judge is on the precipice of tying the American League single-season home run record, and it could very well come against a Boston Red Sox pitcher.
Judge only needs one more round-tripper to match Roger Maris’ 61 homers in 1961. And with the struggling, somehow-still-not-mathematically-eliminated Sox in the Bronx to play the New York Yankees one last time, it feels impossible that it won’t happen at some point during the four-game series.
The stars are aligning for Judge. The Sox have been felled by their own depleted pitching staff all season, and Judge is hitting .309/.424/.618 in 14 games against them. Even Fenway Park, where Judge has struggled to hit throughout his career, was the site of a two-homer game last week, bringing his season total against them to five. He’s hitting .317/.411/.694 at Yankee Stadium this year. The record-tying home run (and possibly a record-breaking 62nd homer) coming in this series feels more like an inevitability than a possibility.
So, which Sox pitcher is most likely to cement himself as an unfortunate footnote in the history books this weekend?
According to Stathead, eight pitchers on the current roster have allowed home runs to Judge in the past, but Nathan Eovaldi, James Paxton, Garrett Whitlock, and Chris Sale are safe and sound… on the Injured List.
Michael Wacha gets the ball for the series opener on Thursday night, but it would be shocking if he turned out to be the one who gives up Judge’s 61st blast. In 15 career plate appearances, Judge hasn’t managed a hit off him, just nine strikeouts and a walk.
Nick Pivetta, slated to start Saturday night’s game, feels like a solid bet. In 15 plate appearances, Judge has four walks and five hits, including two home runs, and has only struck out once.
If Rich Hill, who will start Friday night, or Brayan Bello, who wraps things up on Sunday, were to give up a homer to Judge, it would be a first for either of them, though the sample size for their success against him is quite small.
And there’s always the bullpen. Fans can count on them to make every game worse, especially with Whitlock and Tanner Houck both done for the year. Judge has homered off Kaleb Ort, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes.