The Cardinals acquired right-handed reliever John Axford from the Brewers on Friday for a player to be named later. And that player has now been named.
As first reported by beat writer Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cards have sent right-hander Michael Blazek to Milwaukee to complete the one-for-one swap. Blazek is going to join the Brewers’ bullpen immediately and will presumably pitch out of a middle relief role down the stretch.
The 24-year-old has some experience as a starter in the minors, but he’s been much more effective as a reliever. Blazek had a promising 1.97 ERA with 52 strikeouts through 45 2/3 innings this year in the Cardinals’ minor league system.
Axford made his debut for St. Louis on Saturday night with an eight-pitch scoreless frame.
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: