Credit the L.A. Times for that new nickname. But their headline writer and Mike DiGiovanna are only working off the reality on the ground:
The boos in Angel Stadium could be heard clearly after his sixth-inning strikeout Friday night, and they grew even louder and longer after he grounded out to third base in the bottom of the ninth.
And why were the booing? Because Albert Pujols took yet another 0 for 4 and the Angels were shut out by Blue Jays pitching for the second straight game. Last night it was Henderson Alvarez, who needed only 97 pitches as he six-hit the punchless Angels.
Mike Scioscia says he may sit Pujols for tonight’s game so he can clear his head. That’s great. But what does he do to clear the heads of the other 12 position players on the roster who can’t hit a lick?
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: