Pirates Pitcher Makes Bold Claim About Pitching Around Aaron Judge
In baseball, there's nothing worse than walking a hitter who is on the precipice of a major milestone. The New York Yankees did it to Miguel Cabrera earlier this season when he was chasing his 3,000th career hit, so it seemed like karma when something similar happened to Aaron Judge on Wednesday night.
With Judge sitting on 60 home runs, just one shy of Roger Maris' American League record, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Eric Stout walked him on four straight pitches during Judge's final plate appearance in the bottom of the eighth inning of an 11-2 game at Yankee Stadium.
For Stout's part, he claimed he didn't walk Judge on purpose, although Yankees fans aren't buying it. None of his pitches to Judge were particularly close to the strike zone, and Stout was booed ferociously after Judge was forced to take his base.
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Given the situation, there was no strategic value to walking Judge in a game that was already out of hand. It seems more likely that Stout simply didn't want to be the pitcher to give up history, which is why fans are calling his courage into question.
While he avoided giving up a home run to Judge, Stout was unable to keep the ball in the park. Two batters later, he surrendered a three-run homer to Gleyber Torres that put the exclamation mark on New York's 14-2 win.
Stout gave up a long ball after all, though Yankee fans would have preferred it had been to Judge. The AL MVP betting favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook's MLB odds will get another crack at history tonight against the Boston Red Sox -- the same team that gave up Maris' 61st homer back in 1961.
With all the karma going around lately, don't be surprised if history repeats itself.