The Rangers financial woes shouldn't hurt them in 2009

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I’ve made a lot recently
about the Rangers’ financial troubles. In light of them, my first
thought was what a shame it would be if those troubles prevented the
Rangers from making the sorts of moves they’ll need to make to stay in
the NL AL West race this season (sorry; I didn’t get much sleep last night). Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News makes a good point about that, however:

I think it’s pretty obvious, however, that with so much having been
made of this team’s No. 1-ranked farm system and an all-but-established
target of 2010 as the time to pursue the playoffs, the Rangers won’t be
big players at the trade deadline.

If help comes, it could be from the bats of Josh Hamilton, finishing
his rehab in Oklahoma, or top hitting prospect Justin Smoak, just
promoted to Triple-A from Frisco.

If there is bullpen help to be found, it could be top pitching
prospect Neftali Feliz, recently moved out of the rotation, carrying
the kind of role Tampa Bay’s starter Saturday night, former No. 1
overall pick David Price, performed for the Rays last September and
October.

Behold the power of a strong farm system. Also behold the weakness of
not living on the west coast: the first place Rangers and Angels face
off in a three game series this week — with Josh Hamilton back in tow for Texas — but most of us back east won’t get to see it due to the late hour. Sigh.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: