NEW YORK — The hunt for home run No. 62 continues for Aaron Judge.
To the disappointment of Yankees fans who attended the team’s weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles, the slugger didn’t hit his 62nd homer of the season, collecting just one hit in 13 plate appearances, with five strikeouts and five walks.
“It would have been nice to hit it at home in front of the home fans, but at the end of the day, I’ve got a job to do,” Judge said. “We’ve got to get ready for the postseason, but the season is not over yet.”
The anticipation for a potential American League record-breaking home run felt palpable all weekend. Whenever Judge approached the plate, fans at Yankee Stadium stood up and cheered before a silence fell over the crowd right before pitchers began throwing toward the plate. Fans booed every ball thrown by Orioles pitchers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“I think it’s been a lot,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I don’t know that it’s necessarily worn him down any more than just it’s that time of year that it is. I’m sure on some level, he wants to get it done and get it over with, but I don’t think that’s something that’s weighed on him too much.”
And while Judge failed to hit 62 in the Bronx, he will have four potential chances this week as the Yankees close their regular season against the Texas Rangers, including a doubleheader Tuesday. Judge said he would like to play every day in Texas.
“Maybe not both of the doubleheader games, but we’ve got quite a few days off through the wild card to the ALDS,” Judge said.
The last time Judge rested during a game was Aug. 3, when the Yankees played the Mariners.
Fans left the Bronx disappointed not to witness history, but Boone made sure to emphasize the difficulty of what Judge is attempting to accomplish. While seeing Judge hit moonshots has become commonplace this season, baseball is still a game in which failing seven out of 10 times as a hitter leads to success.
“It’s really hard to hit a home run, especially when the circumstances are a little odd and all, you know where we are in the season,” Boone said. “A lot of things have to sync up for even the greatest of the great. Obviously would have been great here, but we have to move on.”