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Aaron Judge on the cusp of a striking feat

Aaron Judge can set the single-season record for most consecutive games with a strikeout by a position player with 33 when the New York Yankees face the New York Mets on ESPN at 7 ET. We dive into the numbers behind a piece of history that Judge might not have wanted on his docket.

The streak

Judge’s 32 consecutive games with a strikeout are tied with Adam Dunn in 2012 for most by a position player in a single season. The only players with a longer streak are a pair of pitchers from 1971, Bill Stoneman of the Expos with 35 and that year’s AL Cy Young winner, Vida Blue of the Athletics with 34.

Robert Gsellman will start tonight for the Mets and will be facing the Yankees for the first time in his career. It will be his first start since June 27 after spending nearly the past two months on the DL with a hamstring injury.

Gsellman isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher, as his 16 percent strikeout rate this season is below the MLB average and is 114th of the 133 pitchers to throw at least 75 innings this season.

Judge’s performance

Judge struck out twice in five plate appearances on July 8 against the Brewers, the first game of this 32-game streak with a strikeout. Coming into that day, Judge was a Triple Crown threat, leading the AL in home runs (30) and sitting second in RBIs (66) and third in batting average (.330). He was also one of eight players with at least 100 strikeouts at that point and had a 29 percent strikeout rate, 12th worst in baseball at the time

However, since this streak began, Judge is hitting just .182, third worst of the 149 players with at least 100 at-bats in that time, and his .714 OPS in that time is only 13 points higher than his .701 slugging percentage at the start of the streak. He’s also striking out in 39 percent of his plate appearances in that time, second worst in baseball behind Trevor Story

Historical perspective

Judge has 54 strikeouts since this streak started on July 8. There are 15 players this season who are qualified for a batting title who have yet to strike out that many times this season, including Buster Posey (47 in 107 games), Justin Turner (38 in 92 games) and Dustin Pedroia (37 in 86 games).

Those 54 strikeouts are also more than Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio ever had in one season.

Judge’s 158 strikeouts are already third most in a single season by a Yankees player, and he’s on pace to be the first Yankee hitter to strike out 200 times in a single season. Curtis Granderson is the only Yankee with more strikeouts in a season than Judge currently has, with 195 in 2012 and 169 in 2011.