Max Scherzer picked up his easiest W of the season as the Tigers rolled over the hapless Phillies 10-0 tonight at Comerica Park. With reliever Raul Valdes making a spot start in place of Cliff Lee, dealing with a stiff neck, the Tigers put up a five-spot in the first inning. Miguel Cabrera got the ball rolling with a solo home run, his 32nd of the season, and Matt Tuiasosopo added a gut punch with a three-run home run before Valdes could even break a sweat.
The Tigers added three more runs in the second on an RBI single by Cabrera and a two-run single by Victor Martinez. Extra runs were added in the fourth on a Cabrera ground out, and in the fifth on a Torii Hunter sacrifice fly.
Meanwhile, Scherzer limited a decimated Phillies lineup to one hit over six innings. He issued no free passes while striking out seven, lowering his ERA to 3.01. Al Alburquerque tossed two scoreless frames in relief before giving way to Evan Reed in the ninth. Reed enjoyed a quick 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the 10-0 victory.
The loss is the Phillies’ seventh in a row. They fall to 49-55, a full ten games behind the first place Braves in the NL East. They are temporarily ten games behind the Reds for the second Wild Card as well, but it will go up or down by a half-game depending on the result of tonight’s Reds-Dodgers game. The Tigers maintain a three-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.
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: