Jose Contreras out 4-6 weeks; Phillies may pursue Heath Bell

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Jose Contreras joined Brad Lidge on the disabled list, with Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia writing that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained forearm, and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that “the Phillies are asking around about bullpen help.”

Olney doesn’t get into specifics about who’re they’re “asking around about” yet, but did write that Padres closer Heath Bell is “one name to keep an eye on for Philadelphia.”

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently that the Phillies aren’t going to make a big splash at the trade deadline this year, in part because their payroll is maxed out, but obviously that could change or the Padres could eat the $3 million or so Bell is owed for the second half.

Bell is an impending free agent and the Padres are in last place at 32-44, so unless they plan to re-sign him to multi-year contract for elite closer money it would certainly make sense for San Diego to cash him in for prospects by July 31. In fact, with Bell, Mike Adams, and Chad Qualls the Padres should probably be the first call every contending team makes in their search for veteran bullpen help.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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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: