Count Matt Holliday among those who are not overly concerned with Aaron Judge’s second-half slump.
“I’ve been through what he’s been through and there’s no need to panic,” said Holliday, who was activated from the disabled list Friday. “Sure, it’s been a little bit rough and it’s not the production he had in the first half, but I just know who he is as a person and I know these things come and go and he’s going to be fine.”
Holliday, 37, and Judge, 25, became close during spring training, with the veteran DH quickly becoming a mentor for the rookie. They have similarities; both are big men who have slight leg kicks as a part of their swings.
Judge had a .329/.448/.691 slash line, 30 homers and 66 RBIs in 84 games before the All-Star break but entered Friday night with a .179/.346/.344 slash line, seven homers and 16 RBIs in 44 games in the second half. He lined an RBI double off Doug Fister in the first inning and went 1-for-4 Friday night.
“I’m not worried about him at all,” Holliday said before the game. “I’m excited about what’s coming. When you have that kind of talent, you come out of it and you come out big.”
Holliday, who Joe Girardi said will get plenty of time at DH, said the viral infection that sidelined him earlier in the season and the lumbar strain that had him on the DL more recently are fully behind him. He’s anticipating the stretch run.
“You look around the room and you start to see the capabilities that we have,” he said. “We have so much depth . . . I’m excited about our chances.”
Righthanders Ben Heller and Bryan Mitchell and lefthander Jordan Montgomery were recalled Friday as rosters expanded to anyone on the 40-man roster. Utilityman Tyler Wade would have been promoted, but because he was optioned Aug. 25 when Starlin Castro was activated, he must stay in the minors a minimum of 10 days before being recalled . . . Catcher Erik Kratz was officially signed to a major-league contract and added to the 40-man roster. He was in uniform Friday night. To make room, righthander Luis Cessa (rib cage) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
The wild card-leading Yankees maintained their one-game lead over the Twins, who currently own the second wild card. The Angels and Orioles are 2 1⁄2 games behind the Yankees.
The Yankees have a tough task ahead of them Saturday afternoon and Sunday night. Red Sox starters Drew Pomeranz (14-4, 3.23 ERA) and Chris Sale (15-6, 2.77 ERA) have struck out 413 in 327 1⁄3 innings this season, an average of 11.4 per nine innings. Despite a 2.12 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 29 2⁄3 innings in four 2017 starts against the Yankees, Sale is 0-2. Pomeranz is 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in four 2017 starts against them . . . Masahiro Tanaka, who is 1-2 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts against Boston, will oppose Pomeranz. Luis Severino, 1-1 with a 4.42 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox, will face Sale.