Having already placed CC Sabathia on the DL Wednesday, the Yankees suffered an even bigger blow this afternoon: Andy Pettitte will miss at least six weeks due to a fractured left ankle suffered when he was hit by a comebacker in the 5-4 win over the Indians.
Pettitte was removed from Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning after taking a Casey Kotchman liner off his leg. He made several warm-up throws afterwards and even threw a pitch to Lou Marson, but he limped around immediately afterwards and was replaced by Cody Eppley.
Kotchman’s shot went as a single to lead off the fifth. Marson followed that with another single and came around to score off the Yankees’ second reliever of the inning, resulting in the lone earned run charged to Pettitte.
Pettitte also allowed an unearned run following an Alex Rodriguez error in the third inning.
Pettitte had seven strikeouts in four-plus innings before departing today. Maybe the Yankees’ best starter in the month and a half since he returned to the majors, he’ll head to the DL sporting a 3.22 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in nine starts.
The Yankees already intended to have Freddy Garcia replace Sabathia in the rotation through the All-Star break. Now they might need Adam Warren to step in as well. Warren is 5-5 with a 3.86 ERA in Triple-A, but he’s gotten stronger as the year has gone on; in June, he has a 2.03 ERA in five starts.
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: