Bronson Arroyo expected to make Game 1 start for Reds in very unfavorable matchup with Phillies

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Bronson Arroyo tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Astros last night in his final start of the season and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that after the game the veteran right-hander “talked like a guy counting on starting Game 1 of the NLDS”:

It’s going to be in a hostile environment, probably Philly. I’m going to have to be on my A game to beat those guys. I think if you ask anyone we’d rather face anyone but Philly. But whoever comes along we’ve got to beat them.

Fay notes that the Phillies would be a particularly difficult matchup for Arroyo because he struggles against left-handed hitters and their lineup is loaded with potent left-handed bats in Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Raul Ibanez, plus switch-hitters Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins.
Arroyo is 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 33 starts overall this season, but that includes holding righties to a .185 batting average and .576 OPS while lefties hit .285 with a .786 OPS. And his career splits are similarly extreme, with a .684 OPS versus righties and an .819 OPS versus lefties.
Perhaps not surprisingly Arroyo is 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA in eight career outings against Philadelphia, although he hasn’t faced the Phillies since 2008.

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: