CLEVELAND — Aaron Judge was booed the loudest when the Yankees were introduced before Thursday night’s American League Division Series opener against the Indians at Progressive Field.
Makes sense. Judge is the Yankees’ biggest star and their biggest threat. But he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in the Yankees’ 4-0 loss.
The rookie struck out in his first three at-bats (twice looking) against Trevor Bauer, who did not allow a hit until Aaron Hicks doubled off the leftfield wall with one out in the sixth.
Of the called third strikes, Judge said: “I thought they were off the plate. I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet, but he was working the corners well.”
Judge, who homered in the victory over the Twins in the wild-card game, had a chance to get the Yankees back in Thursday’s game when he batted with two outs and two on in the eighth and the Yankees trailing 4-0. But he fanned against Cody Allen.
“I wanted to go out there and do my job,” Judge said. “Drive those guys in. I came up short on that one, but got an at-bat against him and now it’s time to just get ready for tomorrow. Just missed a couple today and that’s a part of it. It’s baseball.”
It won’t get easier for the Yankees in Friday’s Game 2 when they face Cy Young Award candidate Corey Kluber. “That’s the beauty of baseball,” Judge said. “We get to go out there and do it again tomorrow. If we go out there and win tomorrow, we forget about today. So it’s just learn from today, regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
Judge has never faced Kluber. “You’d rather get at-bats against him,” he said. “The more you see a guy in the box, the more familiar you get with what his fastball’s doing, or his slider, stuff like that. I’ve been watching video and just prepare and get ready.”
It also was a rough night for Gary Sanchez, who went 0-for-4 and spent much of the night attempting to block pitches in the dirt by three different pitchers.
Sanchez was not charged with any passed balls after tying for the major-league lead with 16 during the regular season. But Yankees pitchers threw four wild pitches in the first six innings, two of which led directly to an Indians run.
Sonny Gray, who lasted only 3 1⁄3 innings, walked four, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch in putting the Yankees in a 3-0 hole.
Gray would have been charged with more wild pitches had Sanchez not made several blocks on balls in the dirt, including one that trickled harmlessly up the third-base line with the bases loaded in the second inning of a scoreless game.
Sanchez couldn’t prevent Adam Warren from throwing a wild pitch in the fifth or one by Jaime Garcia in the fifth and another by the lefthander in the sixth. The wild pitches in the fifth led to Cleveland’s fourth run.
Jose Ramirez singled off Warren and moved to second on a wild pitch. Garcia threw another one to Jay Bruce, the first batter he faced, allowing Ramirez to take third. Bruce’s sacrifice fly gave the Indians a 4-0 lead.