Judge blames his timing after copping boos in Yankees' ALDS loss to Guardians

By Sports Desk October 14, 2022

Aaron Judge says he needs to re-discover his timing after grabbing an unwanted slice of MLB history having been struck out four times in Friday's 4-2 ALDS loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

Judge may have blasted an American League record 62 regular-season home runs but he copped some boos in Game 2 at Yankee Stadium after tallying his fourth four-strikeout playoff game, which is the most by an player in MLB history.

The Yankees slugger went none-for-five as the Guardians leveled the series at 1-1, aided by back-to-back bloop hits in the 10th inning.

But the Guardians also employed a game-changing plan against Judge, targeting him with breaking balls down and away on the outer half of the plate to which he had no response. Judge is now none-for-eight with seven strikeouts in the two games played in the ALDS.

"The timing's a little off, you're going to be swinging at pitches you don't normally swing at, and the ones you can hit, you're just a tick late or tick out in front a little bit," Judge said. "Just work on that timing and I think it'll be good to go.

"There's nothing I can do. I gotta play better. That's what it comes down to. Didn't do the job tonight."

Judge's struggles came after a nine-day break between the regular season and playoffs, but also after homering only twice in his final 14 regular season games as he approached Roger Maris' AL record.

"I've had two bad games in my career multiple times," Judge said. "It's part of it. You just got to learn from it, learn from mistakes and you're ready for the next one because, guess what, there's no breaks right now."

Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber had seven strikeouts across five-and-two-third innings, while Trevor Stephan struck out four.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona was reluctant to divulge much about their plans for Judge, nor get carried away with their two-game success against him.

"I don't mean to be rude, but if I did, I'm not sure I'd really want to share it," Francona said. "It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I think sometimes hitters can't hit a button, and as good as guys are, sometimes guys take none-fors.

"Until you get through a series successfully, I don't think anybody if going to stand up here and pound our chest. He's too dangerous. We know that."

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