Benched last night for the third time in six games Jason Bay offered up a very reasonable response when questioned afterward by reporters, noting that it’s tough to complain much about not being in the lineup when you’re hitting .207.
I’m a realist. I’m not playing that well. That’s just the reality of it. Had I been out there hitting .500, I think I’d have a little more reason to have a little more say. It’s the way it is.
Terry Collins sat Bay in order to get Willie Harris into the lineup versus Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, against whom lefties have fared much better than righties and Harris was 7-for-14. And it worked, as Harris went 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base while the Mets scored four runs in 5.1 innings off Jurrjens.
However, if Collins is now willing to sit Bay versus tough right-handed pitchers that’s actually a more extreme stance than simply benching him for a few games, as it means regular time on the bench. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York asked Bay whether he felt Collins’ usage of him had changed, to which Bay replied: “I just work here.”
And for quite a while longer, too. Bay is making $16 million this season and is also under contract for $16 million in 2012 and 2013, with a $17 million option or $3 million buyout for 2014.
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: