Nyjer Morgan, who was off to a scorching start replacing the injured Corey Hart in right field for the Brewers before landing on the DL with a deep thigh bruise, was activated Tuesday and immediately inserted into Carlos Gomez’s spot in the lineup.
It doesn’t figure to be a one-day move, what with Gomez hitting just .236/.278/.311 for the year. Gomez remains a top-notch defensive center fielder and he’s gone 8-for-9 stealing bases in 28 games this year, but he’s now had 1,414 major league at-bats and he’s hit all of .245/.292/.346.
Only five active major leaguers with at least 1,400 plate appearances have worse OPSs than Gomez’s .638 mark: Juan Castro (.595), John McDonald (.604), Cesar Izturis (.618), Jose Molina (.621) and Ronny Cedeno (.635).
Of course, Morgan actually came in with a .633 OPS in Washington last year. However, he was 10-for-22 with four extra-base hits before going on the DL this year, giving him a .455/.500/.727 line. He’s a career .286/.347/.366 hitter. If he can hit at his lifetime mark going forward, then he’ll likely take over as Milwaukee’s primary center fielder.
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: