Bryce Harper is excited to play ball. Maybe a bit too excited.

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Bryce Harper has suited up for the instructional league and was asked if he’s ready to play:

“I am going to dive and scratch and claw. I will try to catch every ball
out there. I am going to be a Kelly Leak kind of guy. I will use my arm
to the fullest. I will try to back pick guys like I have. My game is
not going to change. I am going to give 120 percent and have a little
bit of fun.”

I assume by the “Kelly Leak kind of guy” that he means he’s going to smoke cigarettes, ride a Harley and develop a crush on the team’s ace starting pitcher.

I guess that would make things interesting in Washington, but it might throw Strasburg off his game.

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: