Aaron Judge’s near-home run in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros would have been a home run in one fortuitous ballpark.
Aaron Judge was oh-so-close to sending one out in Game 2 of the ALCS. A run was desperately needed as the Yankees ultimately fell to the Astros 3-2, going into a two-game deficit in the series.
The home run would have given the Yankees a 4-3 lead and very well could have been the difference in the game. The roof was open on Minute Maid Park and the winds actually kept the ball from going out. Had the roof been closed, the ball — which was mere inches from being a home run — very well may have sailed into the seats and won the Yankees the game.
Boone pointed to the wind in his postgame presser.
“I think the roof open kinda killed us. I think it’s a 390 [feet] ball,” Boone said after the game.
Some took that comment as an excuse, but he’s not wrong. Look at the spray chart of balls at that exit velocity and launch angle (photo courtesy of Statcast’s field visualizer):
It’s a home run 88.2% of the time.
Aaron Judge’s big hit would’ve gone out in Yankee Stadium
We can talk about what would have happened to the ball with no wind all day long, but the reality is the wind was a factor. Both teams had to deal with it, and the what-ifs are not a reality. The Statcast data on the ball’s actual distance is worth noting, too, because it would have been a home run in one ballpark and one ballpark only. You guessed it: Yankee Stadium.
The ball — hit off Bryan Abreu — had an exit velocity of 106.3 miles per hour (fifth-highest in-play ball of the game) and went 345 feet. The expected batting average of the ball was .910.
Judge was oh-so-close in multiple instances on Thursday night. He had another ball with an expected batting average of .810 that went 389 feet which ended up being a lineout. The exit velo on that one was 111.7 miles per hour.
So, if there’s anything positive to take away from this for Yankees fans, it’s that Judge is clearly heating up, and he’s about to play three straight games in a field that is tailor-made for hitters and home runs. Statistically, if he keeps hitting this way he should get one to fall into play (or out of play in a good way!).
New York’s backs are against the wall, but they have some of the best hitters in the MLB on their team. There’s a chance they can come back, and the scenery change mid-series could very well help them.