It was past my bedtime, but there was no way I was going to sleep. The Yankees had just tied it up in the top of the ninth, thanks to the miraculous DJ LeMahieu. Then came Chapman, always a high-wire act. Did he have to challenge Altuve with a base open and a relatively weak hitter coming up? Boone said that challenging hitters is what Chapman does. Great. We lost. We didn’t get a chance to bat in the top of the 10th. We didn’t get a shot at a Game 7. We didn’t win a championship after all – the first time in a decade the Yankees didn’t accomplish that feat.
Were we the underdogs against the Astros coming into this series? Absolutely, given their elite pitching staff. But we battled, sort of. There were too many strikeouts, too many runners left on base, not enough hit and run, small ball, too many swings for the fences.
There were also two glaring holes in the lineup. Encarnacion, who came off the IL and was so hot in the Twins series, was about as lost at the plate as I’ve ever seen a batter. One K after another. Just awful. I would have used Maybin as DH in last night’s game – anybody but Edwin because he had clearly gone into a terrible slump. The other hole was Stanton, who seems to be the new Ellsbury: a highly paid player who has too many injuries to earn his money and contribute to the team. The Yankees won the two games in which Stanton was in the lineup. Even at 60% healthy, his presence was important, but he was deemed too injured to bat? With the season on the line?
But there will be many months of what ifs, not the least of which is why the Yankees didn’t try to get Gerrit Cole when he was available. Will they let Didi walk as a free agent in the off-season and go after a front-line pitcher, including Cole? Who knows.
I wish those who still read the blog a happy and healthy winter. One thing is for sure: there will be more baseball in our future. Go Yanks.