Volstad working on lengthy scoreless innings streak

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Marlins right-hander Chris Volstad opened the 2010 season firmly entrenched in the club’s starting rotation.  But a rough April and a brutal July saw to his demotion to Triple-A New Orleans before the month of August.

He doesn’t look like the same pitcher now.

Volstad fired 6 2/3 shutout innings on Saturday against the Brewers and tossed a complete-game shutout last week against the Cardinals.  He’s up to 15 2/3 straight scoreless innings and, according to the Palm Beach Post, is now 7-1 with a 4.44 ERA since his return to the big leagues in late August.

“Something clicked in him,’ manager Edwin Rodriguez. “It could be
his release point. It could be confidence in his pitches, because pretty
much he has the same stuff that he had earlier in the year. Something is
working for him now and he feels very confident and attacking hitters.”

The 6-foot-8 righty was selected in the first round of the 2005 draft.  He is slowly living up to the hype.

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: