OK, it was just the Governors’ Cup, the trophy given to the winner of the Triple-A level International League championship. But it is one thing for the Red Sox to celebrate in a dismal 2012 season. They hadn’t won the title in 28 years.
The Pawtucket Red Sox finished a sweep of the best-of-five series over the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox affiliate, on Thursday, winning 4-1.
Journeyman right-hander Nelson Figueroa picked up the win for the PawSox, allowing one run in six innings. Jeremy Hazelbaker, Juan Carlos Linares, Mike Rivera and Che-Hsuan Lin drove in the runs. The lone top prospect in the lineup, right fielder Bryce Brentz, went 0-for-4, but he did finish the series 4-for-12.
Game 2 of the series featured Zach Stewart shutting out his old team for six innings on his way to the win. Stewart pitched for Charlotte before being included in the Kevin Youkilis trade in June.
Now that the PawSox season is over, one imagines a few players will be added to Boston’s roster for Friday’s game. Stewart, Lin and Danny Valencia would be obvious additions.
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: