Former Fresno State teammates set to faceoff in MLB playoffs

Aaron Judge, winner of the 2012 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby during his time at Fresno State. He looks to make an impact for the Yankees in 2020. (The Collegian Archive)

Two Fresno State baseball products will square off today in the Wild Card Round of the MLB postseason

Jordan Luplow of the No. 4 American League seed Cleveland Indians (35-25) will host Aaron Judge of the No. 5 seed New York Yankees (33-27) on Sept. 29 and 30 at 4 p.m. at Progressive Field.

Luplow and Judge played together at Fresno State in 2012 and 2013. The Bulldogs had a combined record of 54-61 in that span.

Judge spent the beginning of the season hot by hitting home runs in five consecutive games, but ended up spending two different stints on the 10-day disabled list. Judge’s latest return to the Yankees after a calf injury came on Sept. 16.

Without Judge, the Yankees went 15-15, with their longest winning streak being six and longest losing streak at seven.

He finished the season batting a .257 average with nine home runs and 22 RBIs. 

But since his return, Judge struggled at the plate, only recording two RBIs and a batting average of .194. The Yankees finished 6-6 with Judge back on the team. He will be batting second in tonight’s wildcard game.

For the Indians, despite batting for .192 this season, Luplow’s bat was alive this month as he hit for a .313 batting average in addition to a .389 on-base percentage.

Luplow recently hit a walkoff homerun for the Indians on Sept. 23 to secure a victory over the Chicago White Sox. 

The Indians played in a competitive A.L. Central, where the top three teams ended just within a game of each other. Luplow is not in the starting lineup for Cleveland in tonight’s game.

USA today predicts the Yankees to win this best of three series.

This will be the first time the Yankees and Indians play each other this year as the MLB restricted teams to travel within their area due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shortening the season to 60 games.

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