Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has done some good for the Yankees this postseason, including hitting a home run and robbing a home run, but what he’s done a lot of is strike out. Entering Wednesday’s ALDS Game 5 against the Indians, Judge had struck out 12 times in 19 plate appearances. That’s a 63 percent K-rate, which eclipsed his 30.7 percent regular season K-rate.
Judge struck out two more times in his first two at-bats against Indians starter Corey Kluber in Game 5, running his ALDS total up to 14. In doing so, he set a record for the most strikeouts by one player in a single postseason series, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.
As mentioned earlier, Judge isn’t the only one striking out a lot, but he does lead the way as the only player this postseason with multiple four-strikeout games (he has two).
The Yankees currently lead Game 5 3-0 after four innings, so they look poised to advance to the ALCS even without Judge performing at peak levels.
Update: Judge struck out again in the fifth inning against Andrew Miller. That’s 15 strikeouts in 22 plate appearances in the ALDS. He’s one strikeout away from another golden sombrero.
Update #2: Judge struck out looking in the seventh, giving him his third golden sombrero this postseason. He’s the only player since 1903 with three four-strikeout games in a single postseason, per baseball Reference. Judge is also now up to 16 strikeouts in 23 ALDS plate appearances.
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: