It’s easy to see why the Yankees lost this series to the Red Sox and it’s not an easy fix.
A fundamental difference of philosophy between the two franchises showed why the Red Sox came into the Bronx and caused the Yankees to breakdown over the past two games.
It’s very simple. The Yankees rely on the home run too much, while the Sox play small ball, piecing together hits to score their runs.
In the last two games, the number of homers by the Bombers was zero.
And that is why they are going home tonight.
“I think one of their goals in this series was to keep us in the ballpark, and then coming here where we’re so good at that, they were able to do it,” said Yankee manager Aaron Boone. “Credit to them for being able to hold us down and shut us down, but in the end, you don’t move on usually when you can’t get enough big hits in a series, and they just outplayed us a little bit.”
A little bit? Try a lot. The Sox outpitched the Yankees and were able to keep their starters in long enough so they didn’t have to burn their bullpen. They scored early and knew all they had to do is keep the ball in the yard, because the Yankee offense wasn’t capable of doing the little things that win games.
Sure, the Yankees had their chance in the ninth with the tying and winning runs on base, but Gary Sanchez’s fly ball to the wall was poetic. Nice launch angle but just not enough.
“When I saw Gary Sanchez’s fly ball,” said Sox’s shortstop Xander Bogarts,” it scared me a little.”
Of course it did. But as shaky as Craig Kimbrel was, he was able to protect a three-run lead by keeping the Bombers in the park.
And it was game, set, match in the ALDS.
When Brian Cashman started rebuilding the Yankees a couple of years ago, he wanted to get them younger and more athletic. He accomplished the former. Instead he got a bunch of players, who rely on the home run too much. Having sluggers like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the lineup is great, but having them up and down the order is too much.
Simply put, that formula wins you games during the regular season, but in the postseason, when pitching gets tougher and the teams get tougher, you get shut down.
“I think they did a really good job of game planning, executing for the most part,” Boone said. “I mean, I don’t know. Do we need to be better? Of course, obviously. I mean, I don’t know how to answer that question as far as it wasn’t good enough. So we need to be better, simple as that.
“As far as targeting, that’s for the winner. As the roster changes and adds and subtracts and those kinds of things, and hopefully we’ll continue to work towards having the most complete team we can.”
Even if the Yankees makes changes with the lineup, they will also need to shore up the rotation. Look, they have a lot of nice pitchers, but most of them are No. 3s or No. 4s in a rotation. Even Luis Severino will need to learn how to become a big postseason pitcher. Right now, he’s not and until he does so or the Yankees get a true ace to replace him, they will run into the same problems.
These are problems Cashman will have to address in the offseason. The building blocks are there for the, but the Red Sox blue print needs to be followed.
Or there will be more postseason sadness like tonight. Another New York baseball season is finished, but plenty of questions need to be answered.