Aaron Judge came agonizingly close to tying Roger Maris’ Yankee and American League record on Thursday night. With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Judge squared up a pitch from Matt Barnes, but hit it to the deepest part of the park. Thus, the ball landed in Kike Hernandez’s glove instead of Cooperstown.
Judge will get another go at hitting No. 61 on Friday night against the Red Sox, and he’s got himself a much better pitching matchup than the one he saw on Thursday. Judge entered his showdown with Michael Wacha with an 0-for-14 ledger against the Boston pitcher. He went hitless but did draw three walks across the night.
Judge and the Yankees will take on veteran Rich Hill on Friday night. The team is a -215 favorite behind Gerrit Cole, and Judge is +225 to hit No. 61.
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Yankees vs. Red Sox prediction: Will Aaron Judge hit a home run?
It’s not a big sample size at all, but Judge has had success against Rich Hill in his career. The Yankee slugger has had five plate appearances and four at-bats against Hill, going 2-for-4 with a double. You can’t really draw too much from that, but it does feel like No. 99 should be more comfortable than he was against Wacha. According to Baseball Savant, Judge has an average exit velocity of 102.1 MPH against Hill.
What’s more notable than the batter vs. pitcher splits is Hill’s current form. Over his last eight starts, Hill has pitched to a 5.65 ERA and has allowed a .778 OPS against across 36.2 innings of work. Hill is a crafty southpaw, but he’s not going to rack up strikeouts or overpower anybody at this point of his career. Judge should have plenty of good looks in his two or three appearances against Hill.
Betting on Baseball?
And while Judge’s splits against right-handers are better in 2022, he’s still posted a 1.002 OPS against lefties in 157 plate appearances this season.
It will always be hard to find positive expected value when betting a prop like this in a historic moment – bookmakers know they’re going to take a ton of bets on Judge to hit a home run – but this is about as good a buying opportunity as you’re going to get, considering the matchup.
At +225, oddsmakers are tagging Judge to hit a home run with an implied probability of roughly 31.8%. That’s not a bad bet, all things considered.
Yankees vs. Red Sox pick
Aaron Judge to hit a home run +225 (BetMGM)