Through two games in the ALDS clash between the Cleveland Guardians and the New York Yankees, the reigning AL Central champions have managed to keep Aaron Judge quiet.
The Guardians have held Judge to without a hit in the series, as the All-Star outfielder has walked once and struck out seven times. Judge had a difficult time getting going in Game 2 of the ALDS, striking out four times, including three times against starting pitcher Shane Bieber on two sliders and a four-seam fastball.
Speaking during his postgame press conference, Guardians manager Terry Francona was asked about his team’s pitching plan against Judge. He shied away from getting into such specifics, as he well recognizes that Judge is a player who can quickly turn around a slump at the plate.
“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 you know, hitters can’t hit a button, and good as guys are, sometimes guys take 0-fors.
“Until you get through a series successfully, I don’t think anybody is going to stand up here and pound our chest. He’s too dangerous. We know that.”
The Guardians will hand the ball over to Triston McKenzie for Game 3 of the series. Judge is 0-2 in career at-bats against the right-hander.
In the big picture, Cleveland is looking to inch closer to clinching a spot in the ALCS for the first time since the 2016 season.