As Aaron Judge nears history, all eyes are on his every move

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”

NEW YORK — Everything about every pitch in every Yankees game these days is about Aaron Judge and home runs, even when the slugger isn’t at the plate. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that as Boston batted in the ninth inning Saturday, down two runs, a fan wearing a Yankees jersey implored Red Sox manager Alex Cora for a comeback — a Boston comeback that would mean Judge would have another at-bat to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

Cora heard a chant of “Let’s go, Red Sox” begin to grow in a section of Yankees fans, and he told the fan who started the chorus, “If you get this [whole] place saying, ‘Let’s go Red Sox,’ you’re the man.”

Not long after the Yankees held on to win 7-5, Cora told that story and smiled. “Crazy,” he said. “Crazy.”

The Yankees have a lengthy non-Judge checklist to go through these days. Close out the American League East. Get a muddled bullpen figured out. Get Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader, working their way back from injuries, going offensively. Restore the full confidence of Gerrit Cole. But to fans, all of that other business seems to have been shoved to the side, and the entire focus in Yankee Stadium is on Judge’s quest for a 61st and a 62nd homer to break Roger Maris’ American League record, a quest that will continue on Sunday Night Baseball.

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