Yasiel Puig was held out of yesterday’s lineup against the Cardinals after he was struck in the left hand with a Joe Kelly curveball on Saturday. Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez was forced to leave last night’s game after he was hit in the left wrist area by a Trevor Rosenthal fastball. Fortunately for the Dodgers, neither player is dealing with a serious injury:
While that’s good news, both players were held out of tonight’s lineup against the Pirates. With Puig sidelined, Matt Kemp made his first start in right field since 2009. Justin Turner is filling in for Ramirez at shortstop. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that Ramirez will not be available to pinch-hit tonight, but that Puig could be.
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: