Carlos Carrasco opened the 2013 season serving a six-game suspension he received for intentionally drilling Kansas City’s Billy Butler in 2011. Now he could well be looking at another one after seemingly intentionally drilling Kevin Youkilis following a Robinson Cano homer in the fourth inning Tuesday.
Immediately after Cano drove a ball out to left center to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead, Carrasco hit Youkilis in the shoulder area with a fastball. The Yankees went on to win 14-1, with Cano driving in five runs.
The odd thing about the ejection was that home-plate umpire Jordan Baker, a newcomer on the scene who umpired his first major league games last June, tossed Carrasco the ball after the HBP, only to eject him afterwards. It still wasn’t clear until after Terry Francona went to get him that Carrasco had been tossed.
After losing out to Scott Kazmir on a rotation spot, Carrasco, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, was originally expected to open this season in the minors. However, the Indians carried him in order to burn off the aforementioned six-game suspension. The Indians were giving him a spot start tonight, and they’re likely to send him to Triple-A tomorrow.
Joining Cano in homering for the Yankees tonight were Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch. Brett Gardner finished with four hits.
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: