NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge proved once again why runners may want to think twice about challenging his arm.Judge had not just one, but two assists from right field that played a crucial role in the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Angels on Friday night.With runners on first and second
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge proved once again why runners may want to think twice about challenging his arm.
Judge had not just one, but two assists from right field that played a crucial role in the Yankees' 2-1 victory over the Angels on Friday night.
With runners on first and second in the third inning with a 1-0 lead, it appeared that Justin Upton was going to tie the game with a single to right. But in one fluid motion, Judge scooped the ball off the ground on his glove side and fired a perfect strike to the plate to throw out Kole Calhoun who was attempting to score from second.
"I thought when he first let go, I'm thinking, 'All right, he's going with the long hop,'" Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It was so low and that thing just carried right through. Gary finished it off nicely."
"Thank God, you know," starting pitcher Luis Severino said. "It was a run there. He's amazing. He's got a good arm and he can throw to where he wants to throw."
Not only did Judge save a run, but his laser from right field clocked in at 100.5 mph, according to Statcast™, which made the out even sweeter for the outfielder.
"It's about time," Judge said. "I've been trying to hit 100. I'm glad I broke it. I think I hit 99 last year and I was a little mad. I'm glad I broke 100. My day was made."
But Judge was only getting started. In the seventh inning of what was a 1-1 game, Martin Maldonado sent a long, looping fly ball down the right-field line that dropped right on the chalk.
As Maldonado tried to extend his single into a double, Judge threw out his second runner of the night with a nonchalant flick of the wrist from the right-field corner to Didi Gregorius.
"At first I almost thought he was conceding the double," Boone said. "He kind of flat-footed it in there, and Didi made a great tag on it."
"I've probably made that play a thousand times pregame," Judge said. "It's just like practice. Keep a routine, keep it simple, don't overthink it. The biggest thing is just make sure you catch the ball cleanly and keep an accurate throw. That's the biggest thing. Just replaying what I did in practice. That's all."
Judge had just two assists through his first 42 games in the field this season before recording his career high in Friday night's performance.
"Those are two special throws that Aaron made," Boone said. "Obviously when you're playing a one-run game and a low-scoring game, it's huge in us getting a win."
"They're all the same to me if it was a 1-0 or a 6-0 game where our pitcher is still busting his butt on the mound," Judge said. "It doesn't really matter the score or the situation, I got a job to do."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.