Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, currently in the process of appealing his 2013-14 seasons-ending suspension from Major League Baseball, made his much-anticipated season debut at Yankee Stadium tonight against the Tigers. Prior to seeing the first pitch from starter Rick Porcello in the first inning with a runner on second base and two outs, Rodriguez received a chorus of applause and boos. He quickly fell behind in the count 0-2, then fouled off a pitch before striking out swinging. The Yankee Stadium crowd showered him with boos.
You can watch A-Rod’s first at-bat here, courtesy MLB.com:
Rodriguez has hit safely in each of his first three games since making his season debut on August 5 in Chicago against the White Sox. He will look to continue that streak tonight in support of Yankees starter Ivan Nova.
Update: With a runner on third base and one out in the bottom of the third against Porcello, Rodriguez worked a 2-2 count before striking out again. Had he gotten a base hit or a productive out, Rodriguez would have moved into a sixth-place tie with Stan Musial at 1,951 career runs batted in.
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: