Back when he threw in the mid-90s Roy Halladay got nothing but praise. Now that he’s struggling he’s hearing some criticism. He’s not terribly pleased with that. From Mike Narducci at Philly.com:
“Philly is not an easy place to do that, you guys are pretty tough,” he said to the assembled reporters. “You have to be pretty mentally strong to block that out and go out there with confidence every time and trust.”
But it did seem like his comments were a bit more than an acknowledgment of the Philly press’ toughness, as he went on to suggest that maybe he should be given some praise for doing as well as he’s done given how recent his surgery was and how similar injuries have ended other guys’ careers.
Not sure that’ll get him very far in the court of Philly public opinion. There, more than a lot of places, results matter and you don’t get a ton of attaboys merely for trying hard.
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: