Michael Washa has a message for Yankees fans after confronting Aaron Judge

Red Sox RHP Michael Wacha refutes allegation that he deliberately walked Yankees star Aaron Judge to avoid giving up the home scoring

Despite what the pronunciation of his nickname might suggest, Michael Washa hates the version of hiking trails.

In this year’s 120 rounds, the Boston Red Sox’s left-handers only allowed 30 free passes for over 165 2/3 rounds, making him one of the most keen shooters on the staff. For comparison, Rich Hill, who starts Friday’s game, has released 33 walks, and Nick Pevita, who starts Saturday night, leads the team with 63 walks this season. Jake Diekman, the struggling underdog the Sox tackled on the trade deadline, has run a 30-man run this season, but in just 38 rounds and thirds.

Wacha’s 2.3 BB/9 is the third lowest mark in his decade-long career, and his 6.3 walk percentage is well below the league average of 8.2%. On the Sox roster, only Ryan Brasier, Garrett Whitlock and Nathan Eovaldi have lower walking percentages this season.

But New York Yankees fans in the Bronx don’t necessarily search for this information before they head to the home that has replaced the one that Ruth built. So when Washa faced Aaron Judge Thursday night and issued him a preliminary round to start the match, the stands erupted in boos.

The judge, of course, is one home run away from a one-season MLS home record that is held by fellow Yankee, Roger Maris. His 61st home run in the 1961 season broke the record set by Babe Ruth in 1927.

Understandably, every bowler facing Judge is well aware that with each move, they could prove themselves in the history books, and it is understandable that Wacha wouldn’t want to be forever attached to giving up the standard blast. But in the availability of post-game modes, try to get things right:

I hate walking. I was warming my nails at the bulls, and when I got to the hill it was a struggle. It was a crazy environment there for sure, but I didn’t want to walk with him.”

Whether or not Yankees fans will believe him is somewhat irrelevant. For one thing, they are Boston’s biggest competitors, so the Red Sox bowlers shouldn’t try to please them or make ends meet. But more importantly, Wacha’s career numbers against Judge are the strongest evidence to support the claim that he wasn’t shy about confronting him. Entering Thursday’s game, Washa never allowed a knockout. Over 14 rackets, he walked it once and hit it nine times. He added a second walk and a tenth hit to his career numbers against the judge before leaving the match.

This wasn’t his best outing, but Wacha certainly didn’t seem to be hiding from Judge so much as simply struggling to control his court. He also walked with two other hitters, neither of whom attempted to tie Roger Maris to the MLS record for one season at home.

Michael Washa’s performance against Aaron Judge evokes the 2013 World Championship against David Ortiz

Red Sox fans will remember that there was a time when Wacha she did Avoid pitching the massive hitter. As a 21-year-old with the St. Louis Cardinals, he had the unfortunate task of taking on David Ortiz in Game 6 of the 2013 World Championships. Ortiz entered the decisive game recording .360/.476/.720 with 18 hits (including three pairs and five hurdles) over the course of their first 15 games of their unlikely post-season run, and an eye-opening .733/.750/1.267 (yes, that was his slowdown, not his in-game operations) during the first five World Championship games . He’s already doubled and rented twice – including Homer from Wacha in Game 2 – and hasn’t quit once.

By Game 6, the Cardinals had surrendered. Washa walked twice on purpose, and Trevor Rosenthal added third. Ortiz added a fourth walk, the first unintended walk of his night. For the Cardinal, it looked like less than two ways out, although the stadium staff came under attack for being too cowardly to take on Ortiz in a series they couldn’t win. Putting Ortiz on the rules didn’t pay off either, as he scored twice that night to help the Sox clinch his first world championship at Fenway Park in 95 years.

Maybe Washa wanted to erase that legacy on Thursday night by confronting the judge. Either way, he won’t be remembered as the bowler providing the record-setting judge’s blast.

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