Reporters haven’t been able to do much better than “Bigfoot off in the distance” pictures of Derek Jeter working out down in Tampa, but the Yankees’ David Phelps has an early review of the Captain on the Comeback Trail:
“Derek looks amazing. That’s awesome . . . You can tell he’s determined to go out there and do well,” Phelps said. “If you had to place a bet on it, you know he’s going to go out there and have a good year. I’m really looking forward to seeing him play again. He’s having a lot of fun right now.”
No Yankees player is going to say “man, Jeter looks like he’s toast. Dude has nothing. He should probably hang it up.” But nor would they flat out lie, I suspect. If Jeter looked creaky and terrible, you’d probably here far more vague things about how “he’s a competitor” and how no one should ever count out Jeter and stuff.
So while, yes, Phelps is not exactly the most objective source on the planet, hearing raves like this should not be entirely discounted either. It’s not likely that a nearly 40-year-old shortstop is going to look like he’s 30 again, but — for as cliche as this sounds — if anyone can buck the odds, isn’t it going to be Jeter?
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: