Cliff Lee threw 110 pitches Sunday in a Game 2 loss, but manager Charlie Manuel told reporters that the left-hander will be available out of the Phillies’ bullpen in relief of Roy Oswalt tonight.
Lee would normally do his between-starts throwing today, so instead he’ll skip that and be ready to pitch an inning or two if needed against the Cardinals. And it sounds like Manuel is treating him like more than just an emergency option.
Lee’s last relief appearance came in 2007 for the Indians, when he was demoted to Triple-A in the middle of the season and returned in September as a reliever. He won the AL Cy Young award the next year and has made 136 starts since then, including the playoffs.
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: