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Yankees' Aaron Judge Says He's Not Focused on Stats as He Chases HR Record

Adam WellsSeptember 18, 2022

Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is staying focused on helping his team win games rather than his individual pursuit of history.

Speaking to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Judge said he's "just playing the game I love" without keeping an eye on his own stat line.

"I've never played the game for the stats or to see how I line up in certain categories," the four-time All-Star added. "I play to win. Having that mindset motivates me."

Judge's pursuit of the American League home-run record has come amid a second-half slump by the Yankees.

After posting an MLB-best 64-28 record before the All-Star break, the Yankees are 23-30 since July 21. Their division lead that was at 15.5 games after a 12-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on July 8 is down to 4.5 games.

While the rest of his teammates search for answers amid their own struggles, Judge has actually played better in the second half than he did in the first half. After slashing .284/.364/.618 and recording 33 dingers in 89 games, the AL MVP front-runner is hitting .363/.500/.816 with 24 homers in 51 games since the break.

Judge's 57 homers overall are tied for the sixth-most in AL history. It also marks the most home runs by any player in a single season since Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 for the Miami Marlins in 2017.

In addition to his prodigious power output, Judge is currently leading all of MLB in RBI (123), on-base percentage (.415) and slugging percentage (.687). His .312 batting average is third in the AL, behind Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins (.317) and Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox (.315).

There's a possibility Judge could be the first player to win the triple crown title since Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Despite their extended slump, the Yankees are still a safe bet to make the postseason. They would need to have one of the biggest collapses in MLB history to fall behind the Seattle Mariners for the final wild-card spot in the AL.

Judge has been good enough to keep his team above water, but he will need additional support in October if the Yankees want to make a deep playoff run.

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