MIAMI -- Not every night can belong to Aaron Judge. The New York Yankees' rookie right fielder, who towered over the competition in winning Monday's Home Run Derby with an impressive power display that included three blasts over 500 feet, went 0-for-3 in his first All-Star Game, with a strikeout and a fly ball to medium-deep right-center that momentarily got the crowd excited.
As they say, they don't throw sliders or 100 mph fastballs in the Home Run Derby.
Of course, given the spotlight and all the attention, you can excuse Judge for perhaps being a little exhausted. When the American League players came out of the clubhouse late in the afternoon to take their pregame batting practice, the media members on the field created a pack five or six deep, tweeting and Instagramming photos of Judge as he walked toward the batting cage. He posed for a photo with Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and shook hands with various people, followed all along by a cameraperson.
This will be life for Judge in the immediate future: Everyone wanting a piece of his time. Meanwhile, he still had a baseball game to play.
American League manager Brad Mills, the bench coach for the Indians who was filling in for Terry Francona, told reporters he hit Judge third to ensure he'd bat in the first inning. "He's one of the biggest stories, if not the biggest story, of the first [half of the season]," Mills said. "He has done an absolutely outstanding job. I wanted him to hit in the first inning."
That set up the anticipated Judge versus Max Scherzer showdown, with Scherzer working from the stretch after Jose Ramirez had singled with one out. Scherzer, showing immediate respect, started off Judge with a slider for a called strike. Judge fouled off a 95 mph fastball, but then worked the count full as Scherzer threw fastballs off the plate and then a slider. The 3-2 pitch was another slider, perfectly located on the outside, and Judge swung and missed.
In Judge's second at-bat, he faced Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, with Ramirez once again on first. Martinez dialed up the octane and threw four fastballs at 100.0, 99.9, 100.1 and 99.2 mph, respectively, with Judge swinging at the fourth one and hitting a hard grounder to shortstop.
In his final at-bat, Judge had to face Dodgers lefty Alex Wood, the master of a changeup that dives away from right-handed batters. Wood started him with a 91 mph fastball, got Judge to swing through one of those changeups, then threw a curve that Judge took for a strike. After Judge fouled off a changeup, Wood threw yet another one and Judge sent the ball to deep right-center, where Charlie Blackmon hauled it in just shy of the warning track.
Still, it seemed like a coming-out party for Judge, baseball's newest star shining on the biggest stage.