Aaron Judge free agency
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is stuck at 60 homers. There are plenty of players who would love to be “stuck” at that number, but it’s surely getting a little stressful for the outfielder. Opposing teams haven’t been giving him lots of opportunities to tie Roger Maris, though.

Judge hasn’t slugged a homer in his past seven games. His 60th dinger came on September 20th in the Bronx during a crazy walk-off win against the Pirates. Since that moment, he’s collected five hits in 31 plate appearances. Three of them have gone for extra bases, but they’ve all been doubles.

The possible triple crown winner has still produced a 192 wRC+ during this time because he’s posted a 38.7% walk rate since his last homer. He’s been walked 13 times overall, with just one of them officially being an intentional walk.

It’s clear that opposing pitchers have been a little extra careful around Judge. Here’s what the results have looked like during his homer drought:

September 27th vs. Blue Jays

    • Top 1: lineout
    • Top 3: walk
    • Top 5: walk
    • Top 6: walk
    • Top 8: walk

September 26th vs. Blue Jays

  • Top 1: single
  • Top 3: walk
  • Top 6: strikeout
  • Top 8: strikeout
  • Top 10: intentional walk

September 25th vs. Red Sox

    • Bottom 1: double
    • Bottom 3: walk
    • Bottom 5: flyout

September 24th vs. Red Sox

    • Bottom 1: strikeout
    • Bottom 3: flyout
    • Bottom 5: walk
    • Bottom 7 strikeout

September 23rd vs. Red Sox

    • Bottom 1: strikeout
    • Bottom 3: flyout
    • Bottom 5: strikeout
    • Bottom 7: single

September 22nd vs. Red Sox

    • Bottom 1: walk
    • Bottom 3: walk
    • Bottom 5: strikeout
    • Bottom 7: walk
    • Bottom 9: flyout

September 21 vs. Pirates

    • Bottom 1: double
    • Bottom 2: strikeout
    • Bottom 5: double
    • Bottom 7: groundout
    • Bottom 8: walk

In many of these situations, Judge is getting walked when there are runners on base. And once the game reaches the later innings, it seems like his opportunity to make an impact with the bat typically has been taken out of his hands.

So, what is the most likely scenario for Judge to tie Maris’ American League record of 61 homers? It certainly seems like his best chance of getting a pitch to hit will be when he’s leading off an inning or nobody is on base, as well as being earlier in the game.

Of the five hits Judge has collected during the past seven games, only one has come after the fifth inning and three have come in the first inning.

From what we’re seeing here, we likely need to be on the highest of alerts for number 61 within the first few innings each night. Once the situation changes and things are tight in the latter portion of games, opponents aren’t going to give him anything good to hit — especially with runners on base.

That will be most pertinent over New York’s next four games since the Blue Jays (one game) and Orioles (three games) still have something to play for.

There’s still plenty of time for Judge to tie and pass Maris before the regular season is complete. He’d probably like to get it done sooner rather than later, though.

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Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.