Arraez leads AL batting race as judge chases Triple Crown



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Already a historic season by New York Yankees slacker Aaron Judge, it could be closed with baseball’s first Triple Crown in 10 years.

Luis Arraez of Minnesota is on his way.

After going 2-5 on Thursday for the Twins as they lost to the Chicago White Sox, Arraez was two points ahead of Hakim in the AL batting race. The Yankees were closed.

With one week left in the regular season, Arraez’s average is .3147, Judge is .3134 and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts is third with .3088. The Yankees have seven games left, including six for the Twins and Red Sox.

With 61 home runs and 130 RBIs matching Wednesday’s most-watched AL record, Hakim locked those two categories down.

With Arraez, it will be harder to get the batting average. Miguel Cabrera last achieved his Triple Crown success for Detroit in 2012. Before that, Carl Yastrzemski of Boston had accomplished it in 1967.

“There is no pressure. But I’m just trying to hit the ball, trying to get the barrel there,” fourth-year infielder Arraez said Wednesday.

With real-time stats looking at him from the giant scoreboard at Target Field, or from an iPad when he watches a video of his bats, Arraez can’t help but follow the competition. But he did his best not to think too much about it.

“I just need to enjoy the game and then finish strong,” said Arraez, who plays mostly at first base, second base and is appointed as a shooter and was selected for his first All-Star Game this year.

After getting off to a rough start to the moon, Gemini got the opportunity to watch the work of one of their most popular players to the fullest.

“I think he got to a quiet point and got to a point where he was worried about going out there and trying to hit some lines,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.

Arraez was hitting .362 on June 21, .342 on July 23, and .336 on August 16. His strong compact and consistent kick, and his ability and willingness to blast the ball all over the court, evoked among Twins fans and Rod Carew’s organizational memories.

Carew has won seven batting titles for the Gemini, with Tony Oliva (three), Joe Mauer (three), and Kirby Puckett (one) average leaders in the AL.

“I think he will have many opportunities in his career as he goes through the years as he fights for this big distinction,” Baldelli said.


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