In the third inning, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig led off with a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop Brandon Crawford snagged the ball and fired to first but couldn’t beat Puig, who dove head-first in an attempt to beat the play. Puig reached successfully but was ultimately picked off.
After the dive, Puig consulted with trainer Stan Conte but remained in the game until its completion. After the game, however, Puig had an X-ray on his thumb and manager Don Mattingly said his star player was “a little sore”, according to Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue L.A. However, results haven’t been released yet, which will determine the extent of the injury. In Stephen’s account, Puig’s thumb wasn’t taped, nor was it in a splint, suggesting the injury could be minor, but the team should release more details later on Saturday night or early on Sunday.
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: