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Judge’s jersey was the second-best-selling MLB jersey behind Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper, according to Fanatics. But a lackluster performance in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros outside of a clutch home run in Game 2 off Justin Verlander is only amplifying the team's overall struggles.
With Thursday night’s loss to the Astros, the Yankees are facing a 3-1 deficit and an almost impossible feat to try and come back against the best team in baseball during the regular season. Judge has made 19 plate appearances in the series having four hits, including the lone home run. He is hitting .235 with a .728 OPS – a much lower figure than the .872 OPS he recorded in the previous series against the Minnesota Twins.
Judge has also failed to come through with runners in scoring position throughout the postseason. He was hitting .125 with no homers and no RBIs with five strikeouts going into Game 4 vs. Houston.
In Game 4, Judge had a chance to cut the Astros’ lead to two runs in the bottom of the sixth with D.J. LeMahieu on base. Instead, Astros reliever Josh James got Judge to strike out swinging – the second time he did that during the night. In his final at-bat in the ninth, he grounded out.
The Yankees went on to lose 8-3.
Judge recognized that he, and the rest of the team, have to do more.
“I gotta step up,” he told reporters after the game Thursday. “We just gotta go out there and just take care of business and do our job.”
While Judge may take the brunt of the criticism because he’s a leader on the team, the Yankees overall against the Astros have come up short. The team is batting .204 with a .646 OPS and their demonstrative home run numbers have dropped -- the team has only hit six dingers in the series.
The Yankees are on the brink of elimination from the playoffs. The fifth game, and possible deciding game, of the series will be played Friday at Yankee Stadium.