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Where Aaron Judge Stands in Triple Crown Race After 61st Home Run

With seven games remaining in the regular season, Aaron Judge leads the American League in HR and RBI, sitting in a close second place in BA.
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NEW YORK — If Aaron Judge is going to win a Triple Crown this year, he'll need to rack up some base hits over the final week of the regular season.

The Yankees' slugger enters play on Friday hitting .313 on the season, just two percentage points behind Twins infielder Luis Arraez, who leads the American League with a .315 batting average.

Arraez has produced two-hit games in three of his last four contests, batting .346 (9-for-26) during his current six-game hitting streak. Judge, who smacked his 61st home run of the season on Wednesday night in Toronto, is hitting .211 (4-for-19) over his last seven games. 

Before that seven-game stretch, Judge was hitting .317 on the season, the highest his batting average had been since June 12 (.318).

Batting average will be the deciding factor if Judge wants to become the third Yankee to ever win a Triple Crown. He is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the league in home runs (Angels superstar Mike Trout is second in the AL with 38 on the season) and his 130 RBI lead the league as well (Cleveland's José Ramírez has 119 on the year).

Beginning on Friday night, Judge and the Yankees have a three-game series with the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Once they finish that quick homestand, their final series in the Bronx this season, they'll travel to Texas for four games in three days against the Rangers. 

New York has already clinched a division title so these last seven games of the season mean nothing in regards to the postseason and their ultimate goal of winning a championship. That in mind, there's a chance manager Aaron Boone gives Judge a day or two off, making sure his leader stays healthy after he's appeared in 151 of New York's 155 games so far this year. 

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Judge needs one more home run to break his tie with Roger Maris and set the new American League and franchise record. 

Meanwhile, Arraez and the Twins are already eliminated from postseason contention. They finish the season with a road trip to Detroit and Chicago, facing two other teams from their division that won't make it to the playoffs either.

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is also in striking distance, but has slipped down the batting average leaderboard in recent days. Bogaerts enters play Friday hitting .309 on the season, in third place in the American League.

Judge would join Mickey Mantle (1956) and Lou Gehrig (1934) as the only Yankees to ever win a Triple Crown if he can pull it off. He would be the first player since Miguel Cabrera (2012) to accomplish the feat as well. 

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