Cliff Lee strikes out 12, loses again

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Cliff Lee still can’t catch a break. The Phillies left-hander fanned 12 while allowing two runs in 7 2/3 innings Tuesday against the Dodgers, but he still took a loss in a 2-1 game, leaving him 0-3 on the season.

Lee has gone nine outings without a win despite a 2.92 ERA. He’s given the Phillies seven quality starts and he even went 10 scoreless innings against the Giants in April, yet not once has the outcome fallen in his favor.

In the Phillies’ defense, they did score five runs in Lee’s May 25 start and 10 runs on May 30, winning both games. Unfortunately, the bulk of the runs came too late for Lee. Both games were tied 3-3 when he exited.

Give Chad Billingsley the credit for shutting down the Phillies tonight. He allowed just one extra-base hit — a Jimmy Rollins double — and one walk in seven innings of work. Josh Lindblom and Kenley Jansen finished up from there.

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: