The forecast isn’t exactly dire — most of the people down in Texas think the game will be played even if it’s delayed a bit — but there’s probably going to be rain tonight for Game 6 of the ALCS. My last check of Weather.com had it as a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms.
But even if the chance of a postponement is remote, I am trying to think of what I’d do if I was Ron Washington and there was a postponement. Let’s just call it a mental exercise: would I pitch Cliff Lee in a Saturday Game 6, going with my best shot at victory first, or would I stick with Colby Lewis, comforted by the knowledge that I had Cliff Lee in my back pocket for Game 7 on Sunday? Oh, and making sure that, if we did win, I’d have Lee available for Games 1, 4 and maybe even Game 7 of the World Series?
One of my favorite Leo Durocher quotes is “you don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” But what if it rains today?
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: