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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-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Calloway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Calloway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.