Braves fans are arguing among ourselves a little bit. Not a ton, but a little. The argument: should Kris Medlen start the one-game wild card playoff for which the Braves seem destined or should Tim Hudson. I say “a little bit,” because almost everyone I talk to thinks it should be Medlen because the dude has been insane in the second half.
John Smoltz has another idea, though:
John Smoltz believes the Braves should take the gamble of going with one of their other starting pitchers in this must-win game. His belief is that the Braves would increase their odds of winning the best-of-five Division Series if they would have Medlen and Hudson available to pitch the first two games which would be played at Turner Field.
Maybe Smoltz is just subconsciously advocating for the third-best pitcher out of some leftover Maddux/Glavine issues.
Whatever the case, like Leo Durocher said: “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.”
Pitch Medlen. You don’t win the NLDS until you get to the NLDS. And Medlen gives you the best chance to do that.
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: