OAKLAND — In sweeping the Yankees, the A’s also did well to keep New York star rookie Aaron Judge from becoming a major storyline as the weekend unfolded.
Judge -- who is from nearby Linden, in San Joaquin County -- was playing his first games at the Coliseum. There were lots of No. 99 jerseys scattered throughout the large throng of Yankee fans sitting behind the visitor’s dugout and down the right field line.
Judge gave them plenty to cheer about Friday, drilling a three-run homer and a triple. But for the series, he went 4-for-14 with eight strikeouts. That included four RBI and four walks, but it’s all relative in trying to contain a player who is currently leading or tied for the American League lead in all three Triple Crown categories.
A’s manager Bob Melvin wasn’t giving away any secrets when asked before Sunday’s game how Oakland pitchers were choosing to handle Judge.
“Pretty carefully,” he quipped. “I’m not gonna get into how we think to get him out, but it’s probably prudent not to do the same thing all the time because he seems to be a pretty smart guy and have a pretty good understanding of what works for him.”
A’s right-hander Jesse Hahn faced Judge three times Saturday, striking him out twice and walking him.
“We looked at him (on video) a good bit before he came in here,” Hahn said after that game. “I think we’ve just had a good approach against him. I feel like a lot of guys in the league have been scared to go inside to him. I think we’ve done a good job establishing the inner half of the plate. He wants the ball away, he wants to get extended. If you do establish ‘in’ on him, it kind of opens up ‘away’ a little bit.”
The A’s did a nice job mixing their pitches whenever the 6-foot-7 Judge stepped to the plate, giving him a heavy dose of off-speed and breaking stuff. Of the 11 pitches he saw in his four plate appearances Sunday, just four of them were fastballs.