Through the first two games of the ALDS, much of the Yankees’ offense has run through Aaron Judge.
After reaching base in each of his first three plate appearances in Friday’s Game 1 win, Judge reached in his first four times up Saturday in an 8-2 blowout over the Twins, as the Yankees took a commanding 2-0 series lead in The Bronx.
Judge, who also scored a run and has only been retired three times in the series, said it’s about making sure he doesn’t let any chances go to waste.
“All I’m thinking about is missed opportunities in years past,’’ he said. “I don’t want that to happen again this year, so I continue to do whatever I can to take my walks when I can and drive guys in when I can.”
After Judge walked in the first, he singled through the right side of the infield to lead off the bottom of the third.
The hit sparked a seven-run inning during which the Yankees sent a dozen batters to the plate.
Judge moved to second on a walk to Brett Gardner and went to third on Edwin Encarnacion’s line drive single to left. Giancarlo Stanton knocked in Judge with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
By the time Judge came to the plate again, the Yankees had added five more runs, and his second single of the inning extended the rally with two out.
This one was another hit to right, and Gardner followed with a run-scoring single to close out the scoring in the frame.
Judge also drew a two-out walk in the fourth.
The Yankees have scored 18 runs in the first two games and haven’t hit a ton of home runs.
“It’s the postseason,’’ Judge said. “What I’ve noticed in the two games is guys just doing their job, controlling the zone.”
The lopsided nature of the games hasn’t been a factor.
“We haven’t been looking at the score,’’ Judge said. “Our focus is trying to score as many runs as we can. We don’t want to slack off.”
It’s a far cry from his first ALDS two years ago, when Judge went 1-for-20 with 16 strikeouts.
Prior to the start of this series, Judge referenced that ugly outing, which came in an ALDS victory over Cleveland.
“[The] first year is like a practice test, where you go through the motions your first time into it,’’ Judge said of postseason experience. “[In 2017], I could sit up here and say I wasn’t nervous, but I was nervous, excited. I think after you get a couple games in, get that feeling of what postseason is about, you settle down a little bit.”
From his seeming inability to make an out against the Twins, to the two diving catches he made in right field in the Game 1 victory, Judge certainly seems settled in.
It’s another encouraging sign from Judge, who battled an oblique injury in the middle of the season and then was hampered by a right shoulder injury down the stretch.
He bounced back from the oblique injury and from being held out of right field for four games late in the year after hurting himself attempting a diving catch.
So far, the Yankees haven’t needed any extra-base hits from Judge with the hapless October Twins in town.
And so far, he has done plenty.