Will Target Field favor hitters or pitchers?

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During pregame workouts Michael Cuddyer held court with the media here at Target Field and speculated that the Twins’ new ballpark will prove fairly neutral in terms of impacting run scoring.
That’s pretty difficult to tell after one season, let alone one game, but today at least a few well-stuck fly balls died in the gaps–especially to left and left-center–and the wind seemingly didn’t aid much of anything.
“It played pretty fair today,” manager Ron Gardenhire noted afterward while adding that the ball seemed to travel much better during this afternoon’s batting practice and the Twins’ two exhibition games against the Cardinals. “Some days the ball is really flying.”
Early on the Metrodome earned the “Homer Dome” nickname, but in recent years it actually suppressed power and perhaps played as much into the Twins’ organizational philosophies as the turf did. This year’s Twins lineup has tons of power, but for the most part having a ballpark that favored pitching and suppressed power–or was at least neutral–would likely be good news.
In addition to preferring good athletes with line-drive swings for position players, under pitching coach Rick Anderson the Twins have typically had a strike-throwing, fly-ball dominant staff. The dimensions here at Target Field lean slightly toward hitter-friendly, but there are no real quirks in the design aside from an overhang in right field and, for one game at least, the wind was on the pitchers’ side.

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: