Link-O-Rama: Sheffield wants to play in 2010

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* Gary Sheffield wants to play next season and has shown that he’s still a productive hitter, but the market for a 41-year-old, oft-injured, should-be platoon designated hitter doesn’t figure to be especially strong.
* Cecil Cooper took the fall for the Astros’ disappointing season, but as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle points out the general manager who built a 70-80 team with a $107 million payroll also deserves plenty of blame.
* Edwin Jackson’s recent struggles have some people suggesting that he’s been tipping pitches, but a career-high workload for a pitcher who came into this season with a 5.15 lifetime ERA is probably an overlooked theory.
* Adam LaRoche has hit .350 with 12 homers in 45 games since returning to Atlanta and Chipper Jones wants the Braves to re-sign the impending free agent. LaRoche has played for three teams this season, so naturally he’s looking for a multi-year deal.
* The man who once traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields writes about the mistake that Billy Beane made trading Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley.
* Yovani Gallardo is now officially the Brewers’ ace.

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: