This morning I talked about Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS and the Nationals’ heartbreaking collapse and loss therein. Gio Gonzalez started that game, which took place five years ago this very night. Now Dusty Baker has announced that Gio Gonzalez will start Game 5 tonight as well.
Gonzalez allowed three runs over five innings in Game 2 of the NLDS (he also gave up three runs in 2012’s Game 5, but I suppose I can let that go now). Regardless, he seems like the best choice here and if I was in Dusty’s shoes I’d pick him over Tanner Roark, I think.
Ultimately, though, this will be an all-hands-on-deck game for Washington, with Roark, Max Scherzer and basically every member of the Nats bullpen available thanks to Tuesday’s rainout and yesterday’s strong start from Stephen Strasburg.
No word yet as to whether Drew Storen will be arrested on sight if he is within 100 miles of Nats Park at game time.
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: