Aramis Ramirez is on fire

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No one had a worse April and Maya than Aramis Ramirez has, but after taking most of June off on the DL, his July has been something else.  The Cubs’ third baseman is hitting .383/.406/.950 this month, with nine homers and 24 RBI. Last night was the jewel in this month’s crown, as Ramirez went 3 for 5 with three homers and seven RBI.

One of the scarier things staring the Cubs in the face these past few months has been the fact that Ramirez has a player option for 2011 to the tune of $14.6 million.  It’s still not going to be joyful to pay that when the team probably needs to be tearing down and rebuilding, but at least an effective Ramirez will make that a bit easier.  And until this month, there was much reason to believe that the Cubs would be seeing such a thing again.

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: