Sports | October 3, 2017 9:31 am

Aaron Judge’s Next Stop Either October Glory or Long Offseason

Yankee rookie looks to help his team past the Twins in tonight's AL wild card game.

The New York Yankees were all business this season. And despite missing a division win by just a few games to their Beantown rivals, the team easily nabbed the American League wild card, riding a hot streak through September that, in many ways, can be attributed to a timely resurgence by rookie slugger Aaron Judge.

Judge has had AL rookie of the year honors all but wrapped up, and also recently landed the AL rookie home-run record. He was named to his first-ever all-star team, took home the home run derby crown, and is now getting early buzz for AL MVP, a rarity for a rookie.

But now Judge faces the inevitable tonight at Yankee Stadium—judgement day, shall we say—something that has come to define many stars who’ve donned Yankee pinstripes before. He gets his first taste of October air tonight versus the Minnesota Twins, a team that broke a record by becoming the first Major League Baseball team in history to make the postseason following a 100-plus loss record the previous year. So they have a chip on their shoulders; it’s not an easy in.

Judge is keenly aware of the significance of tonight. When asked Monday how important the postseason is in judging his overall performance, Judge said: “Well, that’s what it’s all about—postseason baseball. The regular season, it’s kind of like spring training is over. This is the regular season now. This is what it’s all about. This is where a lot of those numbers that are hanging out there in left field [at Yankee Stadium], this is where they made a name for themselves, in the postseason.”

It’s not just about play, though, explains The New York Times: “The level of attention from the news media is intense, although that is something Yankees players are probably as equipped to adjust to as any team.”

The Yankees and Twins face off tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN.