3:30 AM: Cat wakes me up, meowing outside the bedroom door. It’s been two months since he’s been exiled from the bedroom for being a jerk, and for a long time he was cool about it, but now every other day he meows out there a lot. He won’t stop this time.
3:45 AM: Out of bed. Begin the six stages of being awake before 4AM (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, Twitter reading)
4:28 AM: Give up any hope of sleeping. Turn on coffee pot.
4:36 AM: Read a tweet from @yakyunightowl suggesting I look at Nyjer Morgan’s Twitter feed. It is mid-afternoon in Japan, and Morgan is at an elementary school. 800 kids are making “little Ts” which I think stand for “Tony Plush.”
4:46 AM: Post this thing. Figure it’s gonna be a long day. May as well start it randomly.
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: