I know baseball loves the unbalanced schedule because it gives them a boatload of Yankees-Red Sox and Dodgers-Gians games to broadcast, but it also makes for some super crappy games like the one we saw (read: no one saw) last night in D.C. between the Dodgers and the Nats.
The Nats beat the Dodgers, 4-0, but not after a 3-hour, 17-minute rain delay emptied the stadium and chased off starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann. The game ended at 1:21 a.m. — long after the Metro stopped running, which would’ve required fans who actually wanted to sit through rain to leave early — and the whole evening lasted 6 hours, 16 minutes from first pitch to final out.
The grounds crew should probably be lauded for keeping the field in playing shape, but this is one that, were this not the Dodgers’ only visit to D.C. thanks to the unbalanced schedule, would have been suspended or postponed. Instead we got a game no one saw.
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: