The New York Yankees have nothing to play for in today's day/night doubleheader at the Texas Rangers. The Bombers are locked into the American League's No. 2 seed and a bye to the Division Series. Now the key is keeping everyone healthy. Aaron Judge (and not much else) is in the Yankee lineup for Game 1 as the designated hitter and leadoff man, but he's apparently only playing in the nightcap if he doesn't homer this afternoon for No. 62.
Actually, Manager Aaron Boone said Judge will "probably" play in Game 2 if he doesn't homer in Game 1. I highly doubt that Boone would sit Judge and put all the pressure on him to break Roger Maris' AL record on Wednesday in the regular-season finale. Judge is -210 at Caesars Sportsbook to hit No. 62 in this series (that was -250 entering Tuesday's opener when Judge had a single in four at-bats) and +170 not to.
Judge could set another mark today. He has an MLB-best 386 total bases this season. The last AL player to finish with more was Alex Rodriguez with 389 in 2002 with Texas. Judge is 0-for-1 in his career off Game 1 starter Jon Gray (7-7, 3.93 ERA). We also have to talk about the Triple Crown. Judge will easily win the AL home run and RBI titles, but at .311 he's four points behind Minnesota's Luis Arraez. Arraez is dealing with a hamstring injury, so it's not out of the question he doesn't play again.
The Rangers haven't officially announced the Game 2 starter but it likely will be lefty Kolby Allard (0-2, 8.47) as he was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock and joined the team as the team's 29th man for this doubleheader. Allard has thrown 17 innings of relief at the big-league level this season. He had a 4.65 ERA in 20 starts for Round Rock. If Allard has to pitch in relief in the opener, he'll obviously not start the nightcap.
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