NBA

With 62nd HR, Aaron Judge reminds Yankees how much they need him, plus Victor Wembanyama has arrived

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

AARON JUDGE, AMERICAN LEAGUE HOME RUN KING

Aaron Judge made us wait and wait and wait… until he didn’t. After a five-game home run drought, Judge crushed a lead-off blast to left field against the Rangers on Jesús Tinoco‘s third pitch of the game for his 62nd homer of the season. With the solo shot, Judge passed Roger Maris‘ mark from 1961 for most by an American League player all-time.

Judge’s 62 home runs also now stand alone as seventh-most in MLB history. Here’s the entire list:

  • 1. Barry Bonds, 73, 2001
  • 2. Mark McGwire, 70, 1998
  • 3. Sammy Sosa, 66, 1998
  • 4. Mark McGwire, 65, 1999
  • 5. Sammy Sosa, 64, 2001
  • 6. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999
  • 7. Aaron Judge, 62, 2022

More than that, though, it solidifies what we should have already known: The Yankees simply cannot lose Judge this offseason, writes MLB expert Mike Axisa.

  • Axisa: “Wake-up call isn’t the right word. The Yankees know they need Judge… Judge is the best player in baseball right now and by definition that makes him irreplaceable. … For now, Judge is the new American League home run king, and his unmatched greatness helped the Yankees stave off the largest division collapse in baseball history (no team has blown more than a 13-game lead). His value to the franchise transcends his on-field production and the Yankees can’t afford to lose him to free agency, for more reason than one.”

As for everything else surrounding the historic night…

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

NFL Power Rankings: Respect the NFC East 🏈

After an impressive comeback victory over the Jaguars, the Eagles remained atop our Pete Prisco’s latest NFL Power Rankings. The Eagles are 4-0 for the first time since 2004, and while it’s no surprise that the only undefeated team is No. 1 in the Power Rankings, it is surprising that the NFC East is the only division in the NFL with three teams above .500.

The Eagles couldn’t climb any higher in Pete’s rankings, but the 3-1 Cowboys and the 3-1 Giants could — and did.

  • Prisco:8. Cowboys (prev: 13)  Cooper Rush has done a great job in place of Dak Prescott as the Cowboys have won three straight. The defense is carrying the team. … 16. Giants (prev: 23) — They don’t win pretty, but they find a way. The quarterback injuries are concerning.”

As a Virginia native who grew up rooting for D.C. sports, I feel no need to discuss the other team in the division. Anyway, here’s the top five:

  • 1. Eagles (prev: 1)
  • 2. Bills (prev: 3)
  • 3. Chiefs (prev: 5)
  • 4. Packers (prev: 4)
  • 5. Dolphins (prev: 2)

The 49ers were another big riser, going from 15th to ninth, and our NFL reporter Jeff Kerr has a strong endorsement for one of their stars in his “One thing we learned about each NFL team” column.

  • Kerr: Nick Bosa is early frontrunner for defensive player of the year — Bosa is having another incredible season and Monday night showed the national stage how dominant he is. Bosa had 14 pressures (five quarterback hits, nine hurries) and two sacks against the Rams, [and leads] the league in pressures (30) and sacks (six). With T.J. Watt out, Bosa is the best pass rusher in football.

MLB awards: Expert picks as we reach end of regular season ⚾


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Today is the final day of the MLB regular season, and with the playoff field completely set, today is also the last chance for players to state their cases for awards. Even though the announcements won’t come until after the World Series, MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year are based on regular-season performance only.

So, our MLB expert panel has filled out their ballots, and there are plenty of close races. One that won’t be particularly close, though, is AL MVP, Mike writes.

  • Axisa: Judge is going to win, Shohei Ohtani is going to finish second, and it’s a wide open race for third. That’s not some super secret insider information. It’s just pretty clear at this point Judge will beat out Ohtani for the award given his home run total and possible Triple Crown. I can’t say for certain it will be unanimous but I do think it will be a lopsided win. Even voters who revere Ohtani will have a hard time voting for him over Judge.”

Judge got five of six first-place votes from our voters. As for the NL MVP, it was more of a mixed bag. You can check out how everyone voted for that award — and all the others — here.

UEFA Champions League recap, previewing today’s action ⚽


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UEFA Champions League action resumed Tuesday with eight matches, and while Napoli netting six goals in a resounding win over Ajax may have been the most eye-opening result, it certainly wasn’t the most talked-about. That honor belongs to Inter Milan‘s crucial but controversial 1-0 win over Barcelona.

Inter, whose manager, Simone Inzaghiis on the hot seat after the club’s poor start, went ahead on a magnificent strike from Hakan Calhanoglu late in the first half. Later on, they got a bit of luck as what seemed to be a clear handball by Denzel Dumfries was deemed not to be one, and Barcelona shockingly didn’t get the penalty kick they deserved.

It was, at long last, exactly the performance Inter needed, writes soccer expert Francesco Porzio.

  • Porzio: “Inzaghi’s squad needed this kind of performance to show that they are still alive and motivated by their manager. … Finally, key players such as Nicolò Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu… showed the right character that had gone missing in the past weeks. Additionally, Milan Skriniar was outstanding after a very difficult start of the season.”

As for the rest of the action:

  • Liverpool 2, Rangers 0 (Group A)
  • Club Brugge 2, Atletico Madrid 0 (Group B)
  • FC Porto 2, Bayer Leverkusen 0 (Group B)
  • Bayern Munich 5,  Viktoria Plzen 0 (Group C)
  • Olympique de Marseille 4, Sporting CP 1 (Group D)
  • Eintracht Frankfurt 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0 (Group D)

We have eight more matches today, all of which are streaming on Paramount+.

  • RB Leipzig vs. Celtic, 12:45 p.m
  • Red Bull Salzburg vs. Dinamo Zagreb, 12:45 p.m.
  • Benfica vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Chelsea vs. AC Milan, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Juventus vs. Maccabi Haifa, 3 p.m. (preview)
  • Manchester City vs. FC Copenhagen, 3 p.m.
  • Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk, 3 p.m.

Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson face off in battle of potential 2023 No. 1 picks 🏀


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With preseason NBA action in full swing, we’re spending much of our time focusing on potential title contenders, but there’s another very interesting race that will unfold this season: the race to the bottom. Why? Because whoever has the No. 1 overall pick next year will have the chance to draft Victor Wembanyama, a 7’4,” 18-year-old who has superstar written all over his lanky frame.

Wembanyama’s Metropolitans 92 team from France faced off against G League Ignite and Scoot Henderson — maybe the only player who could possibly challenge Wembanyama’s status as the expected top pick — last night, and they did not disappoint.

  • Wembanyama finished with 37 points (including seven 3-pointers), five blocks and four rebounds.
  • Henderson finished with 28 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
  • G League Ignite won, 122-115.

Wembanyama’s ridiculous skillset on both ends was on full display — especially in the second half — and if anything, he proved once again why he’s considered a once-in-a-generation prospect, writes basketball reporter Kyle Boone.

  • Boone:Wembanyama turned it up a notch in the third and fourth quarter despite dealing with persistent foul trouble in what might have been his most impressive shooting performance of his young career. He delivered dagger after dagger from beyond the arc, finishing with seven made triples in a closely-contested loss. He closed with 28 second-half points to turn in 37 on the night…”

What we’re watching Wednesday 📺

UEFA Champions League, 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Paramount+
🏈 SMU at UCF, 7 p.m. on ESPN2


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