It’s not often you hear a manager mention the absence of one of his players who got ejected in his postgame comments. And when it does happen, it’s usually the manger standing up for his player. Following yesterday’s Blue Jays-Rays game, however, John Gibbons let Jose Bautista have it.
Bautista was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes. Nolan Reimold took his place. Reimold dropped a fly ball in the tenth inning which set up the Rays winning run and he struck out to end the game. Gibbons not only said that Bautista should’ve been in those spots, he took issue with Bautista’s taking issue with the strike zone:
“The bottom line is we needed him in the game,” Gibbons said of Bautista. “Say your piece and get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get in the playoffs, we need you on the field. He’s a marked man in this game. (Plate ump) Bill Welke? I thought he had a pretty good (strike) zone today. It was steady, he was calling strikes. He was looking to call strikes. But we need you in the game.”
Lotsa frustration in T.O. these days.
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: