It’s been a bad run of late for Albert Pujols. After a solid April, his average and on-base percentage have been pretty dismal in May and June. His power has been alright, but he has definitely looked like an older and less-effective player in recent weeks. A sore back has hampered him. Now something else is hampering him. From the L.A. Times:
[Pujols] disclosed after Sunday’s game that he has played with a swollen lymph node in his left groin since Wednesday.
The Angels did not send Pujols to a doctor. Pujols said the team athletic trainers considered the condition more of an infection than an injury, even with what he said was a gland swollen to the size of a golf ball.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be all right,” Pujols said. “They say it’s one of those things that should go away.”
The ailment led to him being thrown out at second on what would otherwise have been a sure-double. It and his back have limited him to DH duties of late. He simply can’t run.
Figure on some time off for Pujols, but also figure that this is now the new normal for a guy who was once the best hitter in all of baseball.
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: