Earlier this week on Twitter, I mentioned that Russell Martin hasn’t done squat since the start his red-hot April. Well, he has shut me up over the past few days.
On the heels of driving in two runs on Wednesday and hitting a solo homer on Thursday, Martin went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBI in last night’s 8-1 win over the Twins.
After hitting just .201/.309/.287 with four homers, six doubles and a .596 OPS over 59 games from May through July, Martin is batting .269/.291/.596 with five homers, four doubles and an .887 OPS this month.
The reason for the recent offensive surge? Martin tells Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he feels fresh.
“I feel like it’s April right now,” he said. “Seriously. The way Joe’s been giving me rest, I’ve never had a year like this where I’ve been fully rested like I am now. I’ve got to give it up to him, because I’m not going to take days off. They’re going to have to give it to me.”
Long known as being one of the most durable catchers in the majors, Martin appeared in at least 143 games per season from 2007-2009 as a member of the Dodgers. He has managed to stay healthy this season while appearing in just 96 games. And with the Yankees a near-lock to make the playoffs, he should get plenty of rest down the stretch.
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: