I don’t know what it is about pitchers always wanting to hit and position players always wanting to pitch, but Adam LaRoche is the latest example:
“The only thing I can promise you is, if a position
player gets to pitch, it will be me,” he said. “We’ll have a fight on
the mound if somebody else is out there.”
After an extra-inning game last month, manager Kirk Gibson said LaRoche would have been his emergency pitcher. LaRoche sounds like he’s been waiting his entire career for just such an emergency.
He’s been staying sharp, working on his three-pitch
repertoire with occasional bullpen sessions. All he wants is a chance
to toe the rubber, just once, in a big league game.
Given his bloodlines and his amateur record as a pitcher, one wonders how he would have done if he had become a full-time pitcher instead. He speculates a bit about that in the article, as well as his thought process in wanting to hit instead of pitch. He also notes that the Braves were the only team who would draft him as a position player.
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: