Koji Uehara’s inability to keep the ball in the ballpark since coming to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Orioles has gotten the previously dominant reliever removed from the World Series roster.
Texas also removed fellow reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from the roster, adding right-hander Mark Lowe and catcher Matt Treanor in their place.
Treanor will serve as the Rangers’ third catcher behind Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba, while Lowe will replace Uehara and Tateyama in a low-leverage middle relief role after missing the past month with a hamstring injury. Lowe had a 3.80 ERA and 42/19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings during the regular season.
Uehara’s struggles obviously led to his removal from the roster, but it also speaks to Texas’ exceptional bullpen depth that Uehara and Tateyama aren’t needed after combining to throw 109 innings with a 3.22 ERA and 128/20 K/BB ratio this season. For a lot of teams they’d be the primary late-inning relief options.
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: