The New York Yankees came up short in an Opening Day showdown with the division-rival Toronto Blue Jays, losing 3-2 in 10 innings. Aaron Judge placed the blame for the loss squarely upon himself after failing to come up with a clutch hit at two critical junctures of the game.
“A lot of missed opportunities on my part,” Judge said after his 1-for-5 day at the plate, per the New York Post.
During the seventh inning, the game tied at two apiece and the bases loaded, Judge grounded into an inning-ending double play. Then in the ninth, Judge failed to come up with a potential game-winning hit, striking out to end the inning with runners on first and second.
Judge owned up to his struggles at the plate in the loss after the game.
Aaron Judge talks about a tough Opening Day at the plate:— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) April 1, 2021
"A lot of missed opportunity on my part" pic.twitter.com/qh8dLrSy8q
“In the seventh, having the bases loaded one out, I just gotta get a ball in the air to give us the lead,” Judge said. “In the ninth, same thing. Guy’s in scoring position, hit something the other way, get it in the gap, watch the guys run. I wasn’t able to come through. I let the team down twice there.”
Judge, who was placed in precautionary COVID-19 protocols as spring training came to a close after not feeling well, also explained his decision to report his symptoms. It turned out Judge was suffering solely from allergies, according to Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
“It’s crazy, any time you have any symptoms of anything, especially the last day of spring training when we’re about to travel, not too wise to not say anything,” Judge said. “Just spoke up with the team, let them know what was going on and they shut me down that last day, which I didn’t want. But I think for everybody’s safety, it was the best call.”
While there’s no disputing that it was a disappointing Opening Day at Yankee Stadium for Judge and his teammates, it was just one game. After having his past few seasons disrupted by injuries, Judge “dramatically” changed his approach to the offseason with the hopes that doing so allow him to remain on the field and stay healthy.
And if so, odds are Judge will routinely capitalize on the kind of opportunities presented to him on Thursday.