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Nationals GM explains Stephen Strasburg’s remarkable recovery

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Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo just held a press conference explaining the whole Stephen Strasburg drama. Or, at the very least, trying to give it some sort of internal uniformity so people will stop saying that the Nationals are all over the place with this.

The high points from Rizzo:

  • Strasburg had fevers, chills, and acute sinusitis yesterday. He was on antibiotics and anti inflammatories, as well as an IV;
  • Strasburg’s antibiotics were switched last night;
  • Strasburg called pitching coach Mike Maddux this morning and said he felt better. When he came to the stadium he told Dusty Baker he wanted to pitch today and everyone agreed that he seemed better.
  • Teammates did not pressure Strasburg into starting, nor did the media coverage. Rizzo said “I don’t think Stephen Strasburg cares” what the media says.

Some may be skeptical about the antibiotic switch doing something in such a short time. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on that. Old-timers at this site will remember this story, but I got super sick at the 2012 World Series and got some hella drugs that actually helped me out a lot in a really short period of time. If you’re getting weapons-grade antibiotics and not the “take for seven days” stuff most people get, it can make a difference.

So there we have it. If Strasburg goes out and pitches well, all of this will likely be forgotten. If he’s shelled, well, then I imagine some people will say he wasn’t mentally prepared to pitch because of all of the back and forth and some others might say that he was still too sick and probably shouldn’t have pitched. Many of these people will have said something contradictory to that stance no more than 24 hours earlier, of course, because that’s how that works.

No matter what happens, I presume that a more in depth story about all of this will come out some time this winter contradicting Rizzo to. Because that’s how all of that works too.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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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: