A good indicator that Aaron Judge was healthy occurred two weeks ago when he hit two long homers in an exhibition game against the New York Mets.
The New York Yankees are getting even more confirmation of Judge's full recovery from injuries with his hot start. The right fielder attempts to extendhis career-high homer streak to five games Sunday night in the finale of a three-game series with the visiting Boston Red Sox.
Before sports were paused for over four months on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Judge was recovering from a broken right rib and a collapsed lung. He then missed a few days in summer camp with a stiff neck.
Based on the early returns of the 60-game season, Judge's power is as potent as ever. He has helped the Yankees win six of their first seven and five straight by using his power, including starting Saturday's 5-2 win with a solo homer off Zack Godley in the first inning.
"One of the great players in the game," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge.
Judge is the first Yankee to homer in four straight games since Cameron Maybin from June 15-18, 2019. He is attempting to become the first Yankee to homer in five consecutive games since Alex Rodriguez from Sept. 4-9, 2007. He is the first Yankee to homer in at least four of the club's first seven games since Mark Teixeira in 2011.
The Yankees have 14 homers so far, and 17 of their last 18 runs are via home runs.
"We have a lot of guys that hit a lot of home runs, so it's going to happen," Yankees outfielder Mike Tauchman said. "I think that when we're at our best, we're driving in runs, we're running the bases well and using the whole field."
The Yankees will attempt to keep up their power display in support of James Paxton, who is hoping to show some improved velocity.
Paxton will be pitching for the first time since being chased four batters into the second inning in a 9-2 loss at Washington on July 25, when his average velocity was 92 mph.
Paxton is 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA in eight career starts against Boston and went 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox last season.
The Red Sox are hoping to start reversing some recent negative trends in the Bronx after getting six hits Saturday.
Boston is 1-10 in its last 11 games at Yankee Stadium, including six straight losses. The Red Sox are 4-16 at Yankee Stadium since the start of the 2018 season and have dropped eight straight series in New York.
In this series, the Red Sox are 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"With what I feel about our guys, we need to get guys clicking right because I know they can hit, and I know that as a group as you look at this lineup it is a very good lineup," Boston manager Ron Roenicke said.
One of those hitters Roenicke is referring to is J.D. Martinez, who was rested Saturday and is off to a 7-for-32 start (.219)
The Red Sox will open the series finale with Austin Brice, who has a 7.71 ERA in four appearances. Brice last pitched a scoreless inning in Friday's loss and has not thrown more than 23 pitches in any outing this season.
Sunday will be Brice's third career appearance against New York.
--Field Level Media