At the trade deadline the Cardinals attempted to bolster their injury wrecked rotation with a pair of veterans by getting John Lackey from the Red Sox and Justin Masterson from the Indians.
Lackey has a 4.23 ERA through six starts, but Masterson has a 7.90 ERA in six starts and has now been demoted to the bullpen.
Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will likely replace Masterson in the rotation with rookie Tyler Lyons or rookie Marco Gonzales, so clearly manager Mike Matheny has lost all faith in Masterson.
And rightfully so, because before struggling for the Cardinals he also struggled for the Indians and overall this season the impending free agent has a 6.03 ERA in 25 starts while pitching through multiple injuries. Masterson does have relief experience, but he hasn’t been used regularly out of the bullpen since 2009 and it’s hard to imagine the Cardinals trusting him in anything resembling a prominent late-inning role.
The cost to get Masterson from Cleveland was mid-level prospect James Ramsey, a 24-year-old outfielder and 2012 first-round draft pick. He was assigned to Triple-A following the trade and hit .284 with three homers and an .833 OPS in 28 games there to finish with an .890 OPS overall this year.
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: