Aaron Judge continues his pursuit of homer history on Thursday night as the Yankees host the Red Sox. Judge homered three times in two games on Sunday and Tuesday -- the Yankees were off Monday -- to move to 60 on the season. His next blast, No. 61, will tie him with Roger Maris for the most in American League and Yankees single-season history.
Judge hit No. 60 on Tuesday night in the ninth inning, and the homer to left-center field sparked a wild Yankees comeback against Pittsburgh reliever Wil Crowe. Judge is now one of just six players with a 60-homer season in MLB and he moved into a tie with Babe Ruth for eighth-most in a single season. Judge played well on Wednesday, though he didn't hit a long ball, going 2 for 4 with two doubles while scoring two runs. He came to the plate for a fifth try at a home run in the eighth inning of a blowout win, but was walked on four pitches.
Can Judge move up the leaderboard on Thursday night and catch (and, potentially, pass) Roger Maris? Here's what you need to know about the game.
Yankees vs. Red Sox streaming info
Time: 7:15 p.m. ET | Date: Thursday, Sept. 22
Location: Yankee Stadium, New York
TV channel: Fox
Live stream: fuboTV (try for free), MLB.tv
MLB home run leaderboards
Judge enters Wednesday's game tied for eighth on the single-season MLB home run list and tied for second on the American League single-season home run list. Take a look:
Most single-season home runs, MLB
1. Barry Bonds, 73, 2001
2. Mark McGwire, 70, 1998
3. Sammy Sosa, 66, 1998
4. Mark McGwire, 65, 1999
5. Sammy Sosa, 64, 2001
6. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999
7. Roger Maris, 61, 1961
T8. Aaron Judge, 60, 2022
T8. Babe Ruth, 60, 1927
Most single-season home runs, American League
1. Roger Maris, 61, 1961
T2. Aaron Judge, 60, 2022
T2. Babe Ruth, 60, 1927
T4. Hank Greenberg, 58, 1938
T4. Jimmie Foxx, 58, 1932
6. Alex Rodriguez, 57, 2002
The Red Sox send veteran right-hander Michael Wacha to the mound to start on Thurdsday. Wacha, 31, is in the midst of a career renaissance. After seven years with the Cardinals, 2013-19, he endured rough seasons with the Mets and Rays before signing with the Red Sox for 2022. In 20 starts this season, he's 11-1 with a 2.61 ERA (160 ERA+), 1.03 WHIP and 92 strikeouts in 114 innings.
As can be seen in that stat line, Wacha isn't a high-volume strikeout guy, so the chances of Judge being able to put the ball in play multiple times are pretty good.
Wacha has been good at keeping the ball in the yard this season. He's given up 11 home runs, which is 0.9 per nine innings against a league average of 1.1 HR/9.
Though much better at home (1.72 ERA in Fenway Park), Wacha isn't bad on the road, having pitched to a 3.36 ERA with six home runs allowed in 61 2/3 road innings. He threw seven scoreless innings against the Yankees this year in their only previous matchup, though that came in Fenway. He actually had great success in Yankee Stadium last season (0.71 ERA in 12 2/3 innings).
Now for the big takeaway, something that will surely be highlighted with great effort on the broadcast: Judge is 0 for 14 with nine strikeouts in his career against Wacha.
This is not a predictive stat and it's still a tiny sample, but sometimes head-to-head data can be an indicator that a matchup suits either the pitcher or hitter. Sure, we can throw out the three at-bats from 2017, but the other 11 were either last year or this year.
Also, Wacha is averaging about 5 2/3 innings per start, so the Red Sox bullpen will figure at some point, too. Judge has had some success against notable members of the bullpen, such as Matt Barnes (2 for 7, HR), Ryan Brasier (3 for 7, HR) and Kaleb Ort (1 for 2, HR).