The Astros are headed to the World Series for the fourth time since 2017 and the Yankees go home for the winter again. A familiar tune, a replay in October. and nothing to debate because the Astros are a real good team.
The Yankees, with their analytical approach, are not the better team. It’s also difficult to understand where their offseason is headed. And before you put the blame on manager Aaron Boone, or the GM Brian Cashman, think about how the Yankees were swept in four games by a dominant Astros team that deserves to vie for another World Series championship.
Of course, Boone and GM Cashman will be culprits of another Yankees failure, again falling to the behemoth Houston Astros. And of course, they will be culprits because the Yankees failed to hit, striking out 50 times in four games.
The Yankees lost a one-run game Sunday night in the Bronx, 6-5, swept for the fourth time in franchise history in a best-of- seven series, and difficult to comprehend. Then again, a Yankees team that lost another game because their defense failed, and that was supposed to be their strength.
Sunday night, the Yankees in their losing clubhouse and their manager had to answer the questions again. What makes them not as good as the ALCS champion Houston Astros?
Why are the Astros celebrating and holding the AL Championship trophy, and on their home turf in the Bronx, as the better team in the American League. It has become a replay in October and the Yankees need to address the issues if they want to return to the World Series, now 13 years since their last World Series celebration in the Bronx.
“It comes down to not being the last team standing,” a subtle Aaron Judge said in a Yankees clubhouse that all along during this ride believed they were World Series bound. “If we’re not the last team standing it doesn’t matter what you do or what happened. It’s a failure. We came up short.”
Judge said the Yankees failed to finish their goal. Every spring the culmination is supposed to be the last team standing, more so that inevitable clash again with the Astros. One culprit, though, is Judge,
The obvious AL Most Valuable Player who won’t be remembered as the new “Mr. October” In the Bronx. It was perhaps his last stand as a Yankee in a walk-off contract year, something the Yankees need to address.
Judge, batted .063, 1-for-16, a walk, and four strikeouts in the four-game sweep. He has to be a culprit, despite establishing franchise season home run records and looking at an impending AL MVP.
The culprits are an entire Yankees lineup that failed to make contact at the plate. They failed to get on base and Sunday night, in their final game of the season, for the first time in the four games, managed to grab the lead twice before an error or home run did them in.
This time, Astros’ Jeremy Pena, the ALCS MVP, and not a first round draft pick, hit a game tying 3-run home run off Nestor Cortes in the 3rd inning. The Yankees lost the lead and Cortes left the game because of a recurring left groin issue that reportedly surfaced again during the Yankees ALDS win over the Guardians.
So, blame this on Judge, or the Yankees inability to play good and clean baseball. In October, especially against these Astros, a mistake will lead to runs. Gleyber Torres botched a seventh inning double play ball and the Astros got two runs.
Clay Holmes, out of the Yankees bullpen, proceeded to allow Alex Bregman to get the go-ahead RBI single. The Astros never looked back and the Yankees would not get the opportunity to become the second team in the ALCS to overcome an 0-3 deficit.
“We have a really good team here, a special team,” said Torres. “I feel those four games, we didn’t really hit really well. We missed too many opportunities.”
Torres was a culprit that failed the Yankees, perhaps one can question where his future goes from here, expectations and more disappointment and not in the MVP class of the Astros’ Pena.
“It’s an awful day, just an awful ending,” Boone said. “It stings. It hurts. There’s no one I would rather do it with than those guys in there and how together they are.”
Many questions for these Yankees as they go home and await what comes next in the next four months. However, the question of being too dependent on numbers and analytics is not the only culprit as to why the Yankees saw another replay against the Astros in October.
Was it dependent on the Judge home run? Or the tendency of swinging too much and trying to hit a baseball out of the yard? So many questions that Boone, Cashman, and the rest of this Yankees hierarchy will address.
But no question about this: October belongs to the Astros and not the Yankees. The Astros are the better team. The Yankees are a long way from being that better team.
And until further notice this October replay will continue for the Astros and not for the Yankees.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network