Aaron Judge made baseball history in emphatic fashion on Tuesday night in Texas, drilling his record-setting 62nd home run of the season in the top of the first inning.
On Wednesday, during the final game of the regular season, Judge has a chance to etch his name into baseball's history books once again.
With 62 home runs, 131 RBI and a .311 batting average, Judge is in the running to be the third Yankee ever to win a Triple Crown. While he holds a significant lead in the home run and RBI departments, Judge has been battling back and forth with Twins infielder Luis Arraez for the batting title.
Just over one week ago, on September 27, Judge held a slight advantage over Arraez in batting average. Now, after going 5-for-22 (.227) in seven games since then—including Tuesday's doubleheader against the Rangers—Judge finds himself 4.5 points behind Minnesota's leadoff man.
Here's how the batting title race stands, entering play on Wednesday:
Arraez: .31501 (172-for-546)
Judge: .31052 (177-for-570)
In other words, it's going to take a huge day from Judge in Game 162—and a poor performance from Arraez—for No. 99 to win a Triple Crown.
Here are some possible scenarios where Judge ends up in first place on the batting average leaderboard:
Judge goes 4-for-4 (.315331) — Arraez goes 1-for-4 (.314545)
Judge goes 4-for-4 (.315331) — Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747)
Judge goes 3-for-4 (.313589) — Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747)
Judge goes 3-for-3 (.314136) — Arraez goes 0-for-4 (.312747)
It's worth noting that there's a legitimate chance one of those two players—and perhaps both—don't play on Wednesday.
Arraez has appeared in just two of Minnesota's last five games while dealing with a hamstring issue. The Twins are out of postseason contention, so it's possible he gets the day off.
Meanwhile, Judge has started in each of New York's last 55 games. Considering he's already hit his historic home run to set the new AL record—and the Yankees have already clinched a division title—manager Aaron Boone could give Judge a rest day, making sure he's healthy for the playoffs.
Arraez would obviously win the batting title if both players sat on Wednesday. If Arraez didn't play and Judge did, it would take a 4-for-4 day at the plate for the outfielder to jump into the top spot. Conversely, Arraez would need to go 0-for-8 to finish with a batting average below Judge's present mark of .31052.
For some additional context, Arraez has been held hitless over five at-bats in a single game only seven times in 2022. He's gone 0-for-4 17 times. Judge has racked up three-plus hits on 13 different occasions this year.
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