At noon Eastern Time on Friday, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge will be in the unique position of attending a virtual arbitration hearing 70 games into a season.
After the hearing concludes, Judge will attempt to help the Yankees earn another victory on Friday night when they continue a four-game series against the visiting Houston Astros.
The Yankees earned their 15th consecutive home win when Judge’s single off Ryne Stanek gave New York a 7-6 win in the series opener, capping a four-run, ninth-inning rally.
The walk-off hit followed a tying three-run homer by Aaron Hicks off Ryan Pressly.
Judge is seeking a $21 million salary and the Yankees are offering $17 million in a hearing that will occur because the slugger rejected an offer of seven years, $213.5 million before Opening Day.
He is proving his worth to the team this season by batting .304 with a major-league-leading 27 homers and 53 RBIs.
In June, Judge has nine homers and 16 RBIs in 22 games. He is hitting .329 (49-for-149) with 15 homers and 27 RBIs in 38 home games.
“He means everything to this team and certainly everything to this fan base,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He embodies all that you want in your superstar player, and I think it’s easy for these people to get behind him.”
The Yankees enter play Friday on their longest home winning streak since 1961 and three shy of the team record set in 1942. During their streak, the Yankees are outscoring opponents 90-28, and they have five walk-off wins.
Houston is 6-2 over its past eight contests but hopes to rebound from its first loss in 40 games this season when leading through eight innings.
The Astros held the Yankees to two hits through the first eight innings but went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez hit three-run homers while Jose Altuve reached four times, but it wasn’t enough.
“We left a lot of scoring opportunities from us, and they took it from us,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.
The Astros hope to come back from Thursday behind Justin Verlander (8-3, 2.30 ERA), who will attempt to rebound from his shortest start of the season. He last pitched in a 7-0 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox on Saturday and was tagged for seven runs (four earned) on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Verlander is one win away from becoming the 64th pitcher to post 235 victories. He also is six strikeouts shy of becoming the 16th pitcher to reach 3,100.
Verlander is 8-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 22 regular-season starts against New York. His last regular-season start against the Yankees occurred June 23, 2019, when he allowed three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of a 9-4 win in New York.
His last appearance vs. New York was in Game 5 of the 2019 American League Championship Series, when he gave up four runs in seven innings during a 4-1 loss. Verlander is 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA in eight lifetime playoff outings vs. the Yankees.
Luis Severino (4-1, 3.27), who is coming off a pair of no-decisions, will start for the Yankees on Friday. Severino last pitched Sunday against the host Toronto Blue Jays, and he allowed a season-worst five runs on three hits in five-plus innings.
Severino is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five regular-season appearances (four starts) against the Astros. He also has faced Houston three times in the playoffs, most recently in Game 3 of the 2019 ALCS, when he lost 4-1 after yielding two runs in 4 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media