Someone was worried about Livan Hernandez's pitch count? Really?

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Livan Hernandez pitches.jpgLivan Hernandez threw 123 pitches against the Braves last night and after the game a reporter asked Jim Riggleman if he was concerned about it.

Which is rather shocking to me, because it’s Livan Hernandez we’re talking about here. The 35 year-old (at least) Livan Hernandez. The Livan Hernandez who has averaged close to 200 innings a year for his career. The same Livan Hernandez who has thrown more than 120 pitches in a game 122 times in his career. The guy has thrown over 150 pitches on three occasions, for crying out loud.  If anyone can handle 123 pitches, it’s Livan freakin’ Hernandez.

Here’s my thing about pitch counts. They’re important with young arms, because studies have shown that pitchers below, say, 25 years old or so benefit with lower workloads. They’re also important for guys who, over the course of their career, either suffer a lot of injuries or show a marked decline in performance when they’re worked hard.

Granted, this covers most pitchers. But not all.  Just as there were some guys back in the day who could throw 250-300 innings year-in, year-out with seemingly no ill-effect, there are no doubt guys today who could do that too if given the chance.  Because of the well-advised caution, however, we just don’t know who they are.  It’d be great if we could figure out who they were definitively because, man, wouldn’t it be awesome if Bruce Bochy could pitch Tim Lincecum 40 times  year without concern for his health. But we just can’t expect teams to take the kinds of risks necessary to figure out whether they have a modern day Fergie Jenkins on their staff.

But I think we can all agree that Livan Hernandez is one of those guys.  He’s not good enough to justify giving him 300 innings in a year, but he could do it. And when he’s pitching well like he has been so far this year, what possible reason would you have for not riding him until he breaks?

Which he probably never will.

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: