The first-place Braves haven’t missed Paul Maholm much since he landed on the disabled list last month with a bruised left wrist, but he’s on track to rejoin the starting rotation soon.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Maholm made it through a simulated game this afternoon with no issues. The next step will be a minor league rehab assignment, which could set him up to be activated as soon as next Thursday against the Cardinals.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is still thinking over how he will handle Maholm’s return, with a six-man rotation among the possibilities. This could be a way to give Julio Teheran some extra rest down the stretch.
Maholm, 31, has a 4.41 ERA and 82/36 K/BB ratio in 118 1/3 innings through 20 starts this season. He has a 5.33 ERA in 17 starts since beginning the year with three consecutive scoreless outings.
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: