All turned around by a Jason Kipnis fly to deep left, Alex Gordon hit his head on the fence at Kauffman Stadium and left Wednesday’s Indians-Royals game with a possible concussion and hip contusion.
Gordon’s head snapped back as he hit the wall, which is actually a chain-link fence in Kansas City. Had it simply been a padded wall all of the way around, perhaps the blow would have been lessened.
While Gordon was down, Kipnis ran all of the way around the bases for a three-run inside-the-park homer. He didn’t realize Gordon was hurt until after celebrating at the plate.
The injury comes at a bad time for a Royals team that just jettisoned Jeff Francouer and Triple-A Omaha’s Xavier Nady. The Royals can go to a David Lough-Jarrod Dyson-Lorenzo Cain outfield while Gordon is out, but they have little depth beyond that. 30-year-old career minor leaguer Anthony Seratelli might be their best choice for a callup. The Royals also have veteran Willy Taveras and ex-Tiger Quintin Berry in Triple-A, but both have struggled.
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: