Per the Dodger Twitter account, outfielder Matt Kemp will begin his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes tomorrow. Kemp has been sidelined since May 30 with a strained right hamstring. He had struggled through his first two months, posting a .640 OPS in 210 plate appearances before winding up on the shelf, so perhaps the time off will allow him to start his season anew.
Kemp has been just one in a long line of Dodgers to wind up in the infirmary. Andre Ethier, who has been playing center field as of late, was not in tonight’s lineup either due to knee soreness, but the team’s hope is that eventually the outfield will include Kemp, Ethier, and Yasiel Puig. The NL West is anything but a sure thing and the Dodgers, only 8.5 games out of first place, can still make it interesting.
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: