The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Can Aaron Judge salvage the Yankees?

The New York Yankees are currently trailing all of their AL East Division opponents in the standings. There have been numerous reasons why the team is floundering, some of which are the same old problems from previous years—injuries, lack of starting pitching starting depth, and the underperformance of several key players. With Aaron Judge having to return from the injured list for the last month of the season, it begs the question of whether the slugger can give the Yankees a much-needed boost to assure their berth in the playoffs.

On the surface, being a cellar-dweller doesn’t sound too promising with regard to their postseason opportunities. But the Yankees’ last-place position, unlike most last-place teams in the other divisions, still has them at a .529 winning percentage, eight games behind the Orioles as of Saturday. (By comparison, the last-place Kansas City Royals are 23 games behind their division leader, while the dismal Oakland A’ are 30 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers.)

Judge has carried the Yankees on his back before. During the second half of 2022 while the Yankees offense began to wane in mid-August, Judge’ performance during his race to 61 home runs single-handedly kept the team in first.

At the time Judge went on the injured in early June in 2023, his performance was similar to his 2022 second half. He was slashing .291/.404/1.078 with 19 home runs and 40 RBI. The Yankees were in third place, only six games behind the division-leading Rays, yet posted the fifth-best overall record in the AL. The Yankees eventually dropped to fifth place by the All-Star Game, never winning more than two games in a row. Yet they never fell below .500.

The division has been the best in all of baseball (every team currently playing above .500). Tampa Bay jumped out to one of the best starts of any major-league season, yet they never held a lead over the second-place team by more than 6 ½ games. It wasn’t until July 20 that they relinquished first place to the Orioles.

The Yankees’ pitching staff has probably kept them competitive more than any other aspect of their game. Their team ERA+ is 111, tied for third in the league with the division rivals Boston and Toronto. They trail Houston and Minnesota by only a couple of points. Of course, Gerrit Cole is the headliner of the starting rotation. He’s putting up his usual Cy Young-worthy numbers. Carlos Rodon, who was acquired by the Yankees during the offseason to be the No. 2 guy in the rotation, didn’t pitch his first game of the season until July 7, because of an injury.

The Yankees have had a revolving door to their outfield positions this season. The production from outfielders like Oswaldo Cabrera, Harrison Bader, Jake Bauers, Billy McKinny, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been woeful. If Judge’s first two games upon returning to the lineup are any indication, there’s reason to be optimistic about his contribution during the balance of the season. The Yankee captain was 3-for-6, with three walks, a home run and two RBIs.

According to, the Yankees are currently sitting outside the projected playoff scenario, while the Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays are taking spots. The Yankees will need to overtake the Red Sox (who is one game ahead of them), and one of their other division foes (currently 3 ½ games behind the Blue Jays).

There’s still a lot of baseball to be played. I’m looking for Judge to provide the lift the Yankees need to solidify their chances. Of course, it would help if veterans Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu, and Josh Donaldson could kick in some additional offense.

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