A-Rod criticizes Yankees for using Aaron Judge as leadoff hitter

NEW YORK – Former New York Yankees slugger turned broadcaster Alex Rodriguez has joined a growing group of fans who think using slugger Aaron Judge as leadoff hitter in the postseason is a mistake by managers and managers. of the Bronx Bombers.

Judge, who set an American League record by hitting 62 homers during the regular season (beating the record of 61 held by the Yankees’ Roger Maris from 61 years ago), went 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts in the first two games of the Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians.

During his participation in the FOX network postgame, where he shares the table with former sluggers David Ortiz and Frank Thomas and commentator Kevin Burkhardt, Rodríguez criticized the Yankees, especially general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone for placing Judge in a disadvantageous position.

“You can’t let your best player, your best hitter, hit first. Babe Ruth didn’t do it. Barry Bonds didn’t do it. Frank [Thomas] it did not. [David Ortiz] it did not. I didn’t do it,” said Rodriguez, who was placed first in the lineup in only eight of his 2,784 major league games, hitting .241 with two home runs.

“And the reason is because you want to protect yourself. You play chess. It’s like the queen of the chessboard. You want to put the two best hitters up front and the two best hitters behind, and protect yourself,” said Rodriguez, the fifth-highest home run hitter of all. times, with 696 hits from four corners.

“The Yankees are putting the two worst hitters, the eighth and the ninth [delante de Judge]. That puts an enormous amount of pressure. You want him to come up in that first at-bat and be very relaxed, see 12 or 14 pitches like he used to do with [Derek] Jeter and [Johnny] Damon and maybe [Mark)] Teixeira, and maybe hit a three-run homer,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous that this guy is hitting leadoff and it’s a mistake,” A-Rod analyzed. “I don’t know who’s doing it, Boone or Cashman, but someone has to change that immediately,” he added.

Judge, who played for the batting championship, which would give him the league’s offensive Triple Crown, until the last day of the season, averaged .311 and led the circuit in runs batted in (131), runs scored (133) and base on balls (111), batting mostly second in the lineup.

But Judge hit .366 with 13 homers in 34 games as the first in the lineup, mostly late in the season as manager Boone looked to give him more appearances so he could break the league home run record.

Putting together the final games of the regular season and the first two of the playoffs, Judge has just four hits (one home run) in his last 33 appearances and two home runs in his last 64. When the slugger struck out for the seventh time in the series, in Friday’s 4-2 series-tying 1-1 loss to the Guardians, fans at Yankee Stadium booed him.

“It’s the Bronx, man,” Boone said. “I think, for most of the day, they executed well against him. The couple of pitches he’s gotten to hit, they were fouls,” the manager added.

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