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Aaron Judge sets postseason series record for strikeouts

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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.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.