Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols could hit a good milestone this week.
The referee sent another pair on Sunday bringing his total to 59 this season, two away from tying Roger Maris’ American League record. The cheater returns to Yankee Stadium, where New York will play its next six games.
Pujols sniffs while – despite expectations – 700 home runs. The Dominican has shaken 12 since the beginning of August.
Judge’s quest to outdo Maris has sparked debate about how to put that American League record into context, if he ends up leaving it behind. It’s unlikely to jeopardize the major league record — Barry Bonds’ 73-year-old — but that mark, like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s accomplishments during the same period, was tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drugs.
That’s something Judge will surely pass on to Bonds and Maris, no matter how many home runs he hits. He is now 20 home runs ahead of Kyle Schwarber, second in the majors.
No one has led the majors in home runs by at least 20 since Babe Ruth hit 54 in 1928, and no one else has hit more than 31.
Maris led the major with just seven for 61 and Bonds went for nine when he shot 73.
Judge is also in contention for the Triple Crown in the American League. He holds the wide lead in home runs and RBIs and is just one point behind batting average leader Luis Arráez. It won’t be clear until the end of the campaign.
The Yankees enter the week 5 1/2 games ahead of Toronto in the AL East and host Pittsburgh and Boston starting Tuesday.
“We have very important games”said the judge. “That’s all I can think of right now.” My goal is to win games.”
At 42 years old, Pujols plans to retire at the end of the season. He is looking to become the fourth player to hit 700 home runs, following in the footsteps of Bonds, Hank Aaron and Ruth. Unlike Judge, he’s not going to hit his milestone at home this week. The next eight games of St. Louis will be on the road against the Padres, Dodgers and Brewers.
San Luis manager Oliver Mármol plays regularly with Pujols. He says that this is an easy decision despite his age.
“When I set the team to look for a win, I’m going to take him with me,” said Marmol. “It’s not about confronting a southpaw or a right-winger.” He will be there because he is doing a good job against everyone. It’s just a matter of giving him a rest to make sure he’s fresh.”