Chan Ho Park wants to start again, but he should stick to relieving

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This morning Craig discussed the continued uncertainty surrounding whether Joba Chamberlain will start or relieve for the Yankees, but he’s not the only pitcher unclear about his role for 2010.
Philadelphia is interested in re-signing Chan Ho Park as a reliever after he thrived in that role this season, but the 36-year-old free agent and longtime starter is also being offered rotation spots elsewhere.
“I want to be a starter again,” Park told the Korea Times. “Being a starter is more attractive for me, because I can take over a whole game.” Meanwhile, agent Jeff Borris explained that “we’re really not shutting the door on any possibilities right now” while noting that multiple teams have expressed interest in Park for both roles.
If he truly wants to be a full-time starter again then Park should sign with a team willing to hand him a rotation spot no questions asked, because this will likely be his last multi-year contract and final chance to dictate his role. However, if he’s interested in picking the role in which he’s actually most likely to have success there’s no question that he should stick to the bullpen.
In his last 34 starts–which is basically equal to one full season in a rotation–Park has gone 9-9 with a 5.05 ERA in 194.1 innings. During that same time period Park made 91 relief appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA in 125 innings. He hasn’t had an ERA below 4.80 during any season with double-digit starts since way back in 2001, but Park had a 2.52 ERA out of the Phillies’ bullpen this season and posted a 3.84 mark as a reliever last year. Stick to relieving, Chan Ho, you’re really good at it.

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: