Another classic spring cliche is the pitcher who is “working on some things.” Usually that’s just a way of explaining away a bad early March outing — “I wasn’t really pitching, I was just working on some things!” — but in the case of Roy Halladay, it sounds like he may actually be working on things. Jim Salisbury:
“There are a couple of things I want to try,” he said. “For any pitcher, you’re always trying to improve on what you already do. For me that’s always the case.”
Halladay wasn’t ready to reveal the new things he is working on this spring.
“I’m going to keep them in my pocket until I decide whether or not they work,” he said with a smile.
Let’s see, he already has four pitches that he can throw wherever he wants at any time in the count, so that doesn’t leave much in the way of new things to work on, does it?
Wait! I got it! He’s going to learn how to paste pathetic palookas with a powerful, paralyzing, perfect, pachydermous, percussion pitch! Italian style!
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: