UPDATE: It’s official: Joba is going to have Tommy John surgery next week with Dr. James Andrews. Tough break, kid. Or, well, tough tear.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Mr. Chamberlain’s name to The Human Fund.
YESTERDAY, WHEN THERE WAS STILL HOPE LEFT IN THE WORLD: Bad news came back for Joba Chamberlain a few minutes ago: he has a torn elbow ligament.
Joe Girardi just told the Yankees beat writers that, while a decisions hasn’t been made yet, he believes that Tommy John surgery is likely. That would obviously end Joba’s season. And would kill the majority of next season.
The weird thing is that there wasn’t any warning or any obvious incident of injury here. Until he was shut down yesterday, he had been pitching fine. There was no walk-off-the-mound-holding-his-elbow moment. No unexplained implosion brought on by a sudden loss of velocity. He just got shut off like a switch. Guess that’s just how ligaments roll sometimes.
Going into the season the idea was that the Yankees bullpen was going to be all aces, with Mariano Rivera owning the ninth, Rafael Soriano setting things up in the eighth and Chamberlain manning the seventh most days. Now Mariano stands alone.
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: