Aaron Judge is back and doing Aaron Judge things.
The New York Yankees slugger is fresh off setting the single-season AL home run record. On Thursday, he kicked off his 2023 campaign with a first-inning home run against San Francisco Giants starter Logan Webb in a 5-0 Yankees win.
Webb threw a 93 mph sinker on an 0-1 count that crossed the middle of the plate at the low end of the strike zone. Judge took a swing and launched it 422 feet over the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium.
The home run was the first of the new MLB season.
AARON JUDGE HOME RUN IN HIS FIRST AT BAT OF THE SEASON pic.twitter.com/IJQ391g4ia— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 30, 2023
Judge was met on his way back to the dugout with personalized celebrations from his teammates that were in midseason form. What a start.
The cliché thing to do in such a circumstance would be to project Judge's home run tally based on this performance. So let's be cliché.
Given the most optimistic outlook of Judge being available for all 162 games and a ballpark projection of 4.5 at-bats per game, Judge's first-inning home run put him on pace for 769 home runs this season.
Alas, Judge's second at-bat produced a strikeout, and he finished his day at the plate 2 for 4 with the solo home run, two RBI and two strikeouts. There goes that dream. Still, the reigning AL MVP is off to a rousing start in the Bronx.
Both starting pitchers set strikeout records
Judge wasn't the only player with a notable 2023 debut at Yankees Stadium. Each starting pitcher set his team's Opening Day strikeout record on a day where offense not produced by home runs was hard to come by.
Yankees starter Gerrit Cole tallied 11 strikeouts in six shoutout inning while issuing two walks. He picked up the win. Webb bested Cole with 12 strikeouts in six innings alongside two walks issued. But he took the loss thanks to four earned runs allowed. Designated hitter Gleyber Torres gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run blast off of Webb, and the Yankees added two more insurance runs in the seventh inning.