George Springer was held out of the Astros’ lineup on Thursday and Friday after tweaking his hip flexor when he was picked off at first base by Angels starter Jered Weaver in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night in Anaheim. He returned to action on Saturday and appeared refreshed, homering twice and driving in five total runs as Houston routed the host Mariners 9-4 at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
Check out both blasts here, courtesy of MLB.com:
Springer got off to a sluggish start following his April 16 promotion to the major leagues, but the talented 24-year-old outfielder now has a .963 OPS with six home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games this month.
Springer, a first-round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, was a .319/.431/.630 hitter with 21 home runs in 75 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Baseball America rated him a Top 20 prospect this past winter.
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: