Kyuji Fujikawa was placed on the disabled list earlier this week with a strained forearm and the Cubs just announced that the 32-year-old reliever will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.
That means Fujikawa will miss the remainder of this season and likely be sidelined well into 2014 as well. After eight seasons as a dominant reliever in Japan, where he posted an incredible 1.26 ERA in 541 innings, Fujikawa signed a two-year, $9.5 million deal with the Cubs this offseason.
If healthy he likely would have been in line to replace Carlos Marmol as closer at some point, but Fujikawa has been dealing with arm problems all season and allowed seven runs in 11 innings in between disabled list stints.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.