The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels began a star-studded, three-game series Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium that features Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout against Aaron Judge & Co. (GameTracker). One inning into the game, it was advantage: Judge. He robbed an Ohtani home run at the center-field wall in the first inning.
Here is Judge’s home run robbery:
The side angle during the YES Network broadcast showed the ball was going to clear the wall but just barely. It was a wall-scraper for sure, but it would have counted had Judge not gone up and used every inch of his 6-foot-7 frame to steal the homer. For what it’s worth, Statcast says Ohtani’s ball would have been a home run in 20 ballparks.
Judge of course robbed that home run in center field, not his usual right field. He started 23 games in center last season and Tuesday is already his 17th start in center this year. Judge might not look the part because he’s so big, but he’s an excellent defender who ranks third among all outfielders with 55 defensive runs saved since 2017. Only Mookie Betts (86) and Lorenzo Cain (56) are better.
Ohtani swatted two home runs Sunday and has seven homers in his past 18 games. Judge took a homer away Tuesday, though he’s obviously feeling pretty good at the plate. Ohtani took a .249/.325/.470 line and 11 homers into the series opener in New York. That’s a notch below his MVP output in 2021, but still very good.
The Yankees went into Tuesday’s game with the American League’s best record at 33-15. The Angels sit in wild-card position at 27-22.