According to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched J.A. Happ from his scheduled start against the Phillies tomorrow with an oblique injury.
Happ was pulled from Tuesday’s start against the Astros’ Triple-A team with a strained right oblique. It’s really not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, since he’ll only be pushed back to face the Reds on Tuesday, but Happ was originally scheduled to pitch opposite Roy Oswalt, the man he was traded for last July.
Still, as Astros manager Brad Mills explained to Levine, they just didn’t want to take any chances with the 28-year-old southpaw.
“The more we thought about it and talked about it, we wanted to give him a couple more days,” Mills said. “I know that he used to be a Phillie and he’s got a lot of excitement about throwing against his old teammates, but the smart thing was to give him a couple more days to try to heal that thing.”
“If something was to happen tomorrow, I wouldn’t forgive myself.”
Bud Norris will get the nod tomorrow, instead.
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: