11:20 PM: This just keeps getting better. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, bench coach and World Series legend Kirk Gibson will take over as skipper.
11:01 PM: Nightengale adds that general manager Josh Byrnes has also been let go. He was hired in 2005 and given an eight-year extension in 2008. But, uh, so much for that.
10:47 PM: According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Diamondbacks have fired manager A.J. Hinch.
Hinch was named Arizona’s skipper in May of 2009, at the age of 34, after Bob Melvin was fired. At the time, many questioned whether he was the right man for the job, given his lack of experience in the coaching profession. Those doubters can crack a small grin tonight.
Managers often have very little to do with the outcome of games, let alone seasons, but it’s most definitely worth noting that Hinch led the D’Backs to an 89-123 record during his short tenure in Arizona.
General manager Josh Byrnes is also believed to be on the hot seat, but has not yet been canned.
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: