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Home SPORTS Yankees win AL East title, but Aaron Judge doesn't with Homer

Yankees win AL East title, but Aaron Judge doesn’t with Homer

“You guys are really pushing for Judge to have a bad day,” Boone joked with reporters. “Usually you criticize me for letting him rest.”

But there are reasons to think that a break might help. As fans wait intently for Judge to break Roger Maris’ American League record, and networks across the country cut their regular broadcasts to take a look at his at-bats, it’s interesting to note how the rest of this league has responded. season.

In the eight games he has played after a bye, his batting average is .333 (12-for-36) with six home runs, according to statistics compiled by the YES Network. He hit all of those home runs in three of the games after a bye, hitting two each on May 1, May 17 and June 22.

For the team, winning the division seemed almost preordained early in the season after the Yankees built up a seemingly insurmountable lead in the standings. As of July 9, the Yankees’ lead was 15 games ahead of the next closest rival. But an August swoon carried over into early September, when the Yankees lost 20 of 29 games, cutting that lead to 3 ½ games through September 9.

“There were certainly days for me personally where it was frustrating,” Boone said of depression. “But there was always the belief that we would get over it.”

They did it. September has been much kinder, thanks in no small part to Judge, who for long stretches was their most productive hitter. They have also seen injured players like Anthony Rizzo return to health and productivity, while others, like Gleyber Torres, have also contributed. Torres has now gone safe in 20 straight games and rookie Oswaldo Cabrera was hitting .306 with four doubles and four home runs in his previous 14 games before Tuesday.

“I think they did a really good job of never getting too emotional or overwhelmed by it,” Boone said of depression. “They did a really good job of weathering the storm, keeping their blinders on, working and trusting that it would change.”

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