Rays closer Fernando Rodney, who saved 48 games last year while posting a 0.60 ERA, has had a lot of issues to start 2013. With the Rays up 3-1 in the ninth inning, Rodney served up an RBI double to Brennan Boesch and an RBI single to Brett Gardner to tie the game at three-all, the right-hander’s fifth blown save of the season in 14 attempts. His ERA now stands at 6.05.
Maddon yesterday reiterated that Rodney was his closer and “there was not even a discussion about it”, tweeted Mark Topkin.
The Rays entered the day with the second-worst bullpen ERA at 4.90, barely ahead of the Astros at 4.99. If the Rays do wind up making a change, Joel Peralta — the only reliable arm in the bullpen for the Rays thus far — would likely assume the closer’s role as he has a 1.99 ERA.
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: