Dejan Kovacevic had a lot of time to do some research in the PNC Park press box last night:
Perhaps the one good thing about the Pirates’ many miseries in
recent years is that they have resurrected the classic names of Crazy
Schmit, Phenomenal Smith and Peek-A-Boo Veach.
Those were just a few of the farmers and mill workers who comprised
the 1890 Pittsburg Alleghenies, the infamous worst team in franchise
history and the one invariably cited anytime a futility record is
challenged . . . That 3-21 stretch now is the second-worst in such a span over the
franchise’s 123-year history, with the 1890 team’s… um, phenomenal
3-35 finish to that 23-113 season still standing alone.
Kovacevic is one of my favorite beat writers. Seeing his work during the heat of a pennant race would be nice, but at this point I’d love to see what he could do if he had even a run-of-the-mill bad team to cover.
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: