Brett Gardner told Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports that he was spiked on his left hand when he beat out C.J. Wilson at first base on his rally-sparking head-first dive in the eighth inning of Game 1 last night.
“I don’t know what size he wears,” Gardner said, speaking of Wilson’s shoe, holding up his hand. “I’m just glad he’s a little guy. I was thinking I’m glad CC wasn’t the one who stepped on me. Eh, just a couple scratches. It’s all right.”
It’s been said a million times, so I won’t dwell on it too much here, but he could have been safe by a wide margin had he simply run through the base. After all, speed is Gardner’s best asset. Obviously, it’s pretty easy to say that from the seat of my desk, as opposed to the heat of the moment on the field of play. Still, Gardner admitted as much after the game, saying, “Everything’s going so fast” and “I don’t know what I’m thinking.”
It worked and the Yankees ended up winning the game, which I guess is all that matters today, but man, it could have been a lot worse.
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: