Craig Kimbrel notches 41st save, sets MLB rookie record

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Congratulations are in order for Craig Kimbrel.

According to beat writer Chris Cox of MLB.com, the hard-throwing rookie closer recorded his 41st save of the season in Wednesday night’s 3-1 win over the Nationals, setting a major league rookie record.

Rangers closer Neftali Feliz tallied 40 saves in 2010 as a rookie. Kazuhiro Sasaki, who had 37 saves in 2000 for the Mariners, held the mark before that.

Kimbrel, 23, boasts a sparkling 1.64 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 107/25 K/BB ratio in 65 2/3 innings this season. He hasn’t allowed a run — earned or unearned — since July 11 and hasn’t blown a save since June 8.

Barring a September collapse, Kimbrel looks to be favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, owner of an .819 OPS, should also draw a good amount of votes.

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: