Reds manager Bryan Price says the team would like to get at least 60 innings pitched from flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman during the season, reports C. Trent Rosecrans. Chapman reached 71 2/3 in 2012 and 63 2/3 in 2013, so it’s not an unreasonable expectation.
Ex-manager Dusty Baker was not a fan of using Chapman for multi-inning appearances, despite recurring talk of moving the lefty into the rotation. Chapman lasted longer than an inning in only two of his 68 relief stints last season. Baker was also loath to use Chapman in non-save situations, like in a tie game on the road late in the ballgame. Perhaps Price, hired back in October to replace Baker, has plans of using Chapman more dynamically.
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: