Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has a story today about the camaraderie of the Phillies’ bullpen. How they do things together and bond and all of the stuff that people inside the game say that successful bullpens always do.
The leader of that pack is Jonathan Papelbon. Who, as Salisbury notes, isn’t always thought of as a leader type. But he is. Indeed, he’s kind of like the leader of The Horsemen. The Ten Horsemen:
Papelbon is a pro wrestling aficionado. Over the last few weeks, he has given his mates in the bullpen nicknames to go along with pro wrestlers.
Diekman is Jake the Snake Roberts.
De Fratus is Goldust.
Giles is Diamond Dallas Page.
Martin is the Iron Sheik.
Hollands is Eddie Guerrero.
Mike Adams is The Hulk.
Antonio Bastardo is Rey Mysterio.
B.J. Rosenberg is Stone Cold.
Jeff Manship is Mankind.
Bullpen catchers Jesus Tiamo and Bob Stumpo are The Bushwhackers.
Bullpen coach Rod Nichols’ nickname is a classic — Vince McMahon.
Papelbon, of course, is Ric Flair.
What, you thought Jeff Manship would be the stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun?
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: