The New York Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Wild Card matchup with the Cleveland Indians last night. A lot of Yankee fans, myself included, were scared of Shane Bieber. The guy will be the unanimous AL Cy Young award winner. I wrote a blog weeks ago talking about how I didn’t want to see the Indians in a best-of-three, largely because of Bieber. He hadn’t given up more than three runs in a start all season. Well, just four pitches into the game, the Yankees put two on the scoreboard.
This was eerily similar to his home run in the 2018 Wild Card game. That season, Judge missed a lot of time with a broken wrist and hit just one home run after being activated in September. Similarly, in 2020, Judge missed a few weeks with a lower body injury and hit no home runs after being activated in September. Didn’t matter either time, as the big guy once again hit a two-run homer in his first playoff at-bat.
It’s no secret that Judge has been hampered by injury the past three regular seasons. Guys like DJ and Voit picked up the slack while Judge was hurt. However, last night showed that this is a much different Yankee team with #99 out there mashing. You can call him injury prone, say why you don’t wanna pay him big money, whatever. Save that talk for the offseason. Because if you want the Yankees to have any shot at winning this thing, Aaron Judge needs to be a huge part of it. Last night was a great first step towards that.