The talk of the Rays broadcast this afternoon was just how much time Josh Beckett took in between pitches, particularly during Tampa Bay’s three-run first. As it turned out, he was going as fast as he could.
Beckett said afterwards that a combination of battling the flu, being on flu medication and dealing with waves of dizziness contributed to his deliberate work.
The first three batters reached and came around to score off Beckett today. The first run came because he was a little slow to react to a liner that bounced off his glove. Beckett, though, was able to shut the Rays down after the early outburst. He ended up striking out seven over six innings in Boston’s 7-3 victory.
The win was his first since May 20. The Red Sox lost each of his five previous 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: