It may have felt like that for Yankees fans, but according to Chris Jaffe’s admittedly random and non-scientific formula involving blowouts, lead changes and run differential, it only ranks as the fourth worst sweep in playoff history. Although:
“When you factor in all the stuff the system doesn’t account for—Jeter’s injury, the booing, A-Rod’s benching—this one probably deserves to be kicked up a bit”
Agreed. There were worse blowouts, obviously, and Chris’ choice of number one is a good one that often goes unnoticed for understandable reasons, but there was a more dispiriting feel to this year’s ALCS than a lot of past playoff sweeps.
Even if you disagree, it’s a fun article which reminds you that not every playoff series is magical.
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: