Out since mid-June with a knee injury, Carlos Beltran is expected to rejoin the Mets tonight.
New York has gone 27-42 since Beltran landed on the disabled list, which makes his opting against simply sitting out the final four weeks of a lost season pretty admirable.
Here’s what Beltran had to say about his decision:
I don’t want to sit back. I’m a ballplayer. When you’re a ballplayer, your job is being able to rehab yourself and if that’s the last game of the season, then play the last game of the season. That’s what we’re here for, that’s what we get paid for.
Beltran was having an MVP-caliber season prior to going on the shelf, doing his usual solid work defensively while hitting .336/.425/.527 with 29 extra-base hits, 11 steals, 40 RBIs, and 40 runs in 60 games despite playing through the knee injury for half that time. I’ve long felt that Beltran was among the more underappreciated stars in baseball and his trying to finish this year on something resembling a high note makes me an even bigger fan.
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: