Phillies reveal, downplay Cole Hamels’ shoulder soreness

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Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. revealed that Cole Hamels dealt with “some shoulder soreness at the end of the season” and then experienced more problems when he “got aggressive” in his offseason throwing program.

However, the GM assured Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that it’s not a long-term worry, saying:

I’d be concerned if this was an issue, but we don’t view this as an issue at all. … We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but he’s fine now. He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good. We backed him off and slowed him down, but he’s back throwing now and doing fine. He’s had no complaints.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Amaro and the Phillies have been less than forthcoming about some significant injuries in recent years, often downplaying the severity or simply obscuring details.

For now Amaro is saying that Hamels’ shoulder soreness was “not uncommon” and Salisbury notes that the Phillies put the 29-year-old left-hander through a full slate of medical testing before inking a six-year, $144 million contract extension five months ago. And he went 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in six September starts, posting a 44/7 K/BB ratio in 38 innings.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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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: