Lana Berry made a great, albeit depressing observation during the Rays-Angels game last night:
holy s***. Rays played Josh Lueke, Delmon Young, Luke Scott, and Yunel Escobar in the same game. they are really just…going for it, huh?
And by “going for it” she means the good citizen award. Lueke, as most know by now, is a sex offender. Young had his little drunken anti-semitic incident in New York. Yunel Escobar you may know from his homophobic eye black. Luke Scott is baseball’s most famous birther who keeps guns in his couch cushions and once cautioned a black teammate from acting like a “savage” and an “animal.”
Quite a group of citizens on the Rays these days. Makes me wish that old Devil Rays prospect Elijah Dukes and Toe Nash were on the club as elder statesmen. Also makes me wonder which baseball team had the greatest number of criminals, knuckleheads and controversy-creators on the roster at the same time. I guess it depends on whether you consider the early-80s Pirates cocaine use a character issue or one in which guys were afflicted with addiction.
The Rays are certainly something, though.
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: