Cleveland Indians’ skipper Terry Francona, who hasn’t managed a losing ball club since 2000, has been in deep preparation for Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees on Thursday night. But he still had time to praise 25-year-old slugger Aaron Judge, who will be in the opposing dugout at Progressive Field.
“He’s good for Major League Baseball,” Francona told the New York Post on Wednesday. “He’s bad for the teams you’re playing against. He’s really good.”
Judge, who finished the regular season with an American League-best 52 home runs in his rookie campaign, hit .286 with a homer, four walks, eight strikeouts, and three RBI in five games (14 AB’s) against the Indians this year. On Tuesday night in the AL Wild Card game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium, Judge got first taste of postseason baseball, which happened to sweet. He went 2-for-4 with a blistering two-run shot in the Yankees’ 8-4 win.
“We spent a lot of time on him [Wednesday], just because he’s so dangerous,” Francona said. “But I think as far as the game goes, I think he’s really good for the game. When you have young players that are good and seem to behave and act with a lot of respect like he does, it’s really good for the game.
“From all accounts, he’s a really special young man. I didn’t get a chance to meet him at the All-Star Game because I wasn’t there, but everybody came back raving about him as a person. I know, if you throw it in the wrong place, he’s going to hit it a long way.”
Yankees’ right-hander Sonny Gray will oppose Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer in Game 1 at Progressive Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m.