Why the Yankees Lost

The 2019 season ends for the Yankees — 103 regular season wins, an AL East title, swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, but then lost to Houston, 4 games to 2, in the ALCS. And thus another year where they did not achieve their goal — a World Series title. Another year without a Pennant. It’s been ten (10) years since their last Pennant — the whole decade of the 2010’s without one.

Fickle Finger of Blame

The fickle finger of blame is pointing all around on Yankee Twitter. It is mostly pointed at:

  • Hal Steinbrenner — for being cheap and not spending on ace starting pitchers,
  • Brian Cashman — for not trading for another Elite starting pitcher — such as Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole,
  • Aaron Boone — for overusing his bullpen in the ALCS, and constantly changing the lineup, which tv analyst Alex Rodriguez said reduced the confidence of the hitters,
  • The Starting Pitchers — for not going long enough in games, which caused the Bullpen to be over used,
  • The Offense in general — which left too many Runners in Scoring Position during the ALCS,
  • Edwin Encarnacion — for whiffing constantly in the ALCS — and getting the nod to play over the machine gun bats of Clint FrazierMike Ford, and Luke Voit — who were not on the ALCS roster,
  • Giancarlo Stanton — injured in the series and all year, and when he did play in Game 5 was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. After the final game he left the clubhouse without talking to reporters,
  • Didi Gregorius — spending the ALCS swinging at 1st pitches,
  • Gary Sanchez — whiffing at bad pitches constantly in the ALCS and allowing several passed balls),
  • Aaron Judge — for not raising his offensive game, hitting some homeruns and matching the play of Jose Altuve who did hit a Pennant Winning home run,
  • the home plate umpires.

Steinbrenner’s Edict

Some on Yankee Twitter were saying that if George Steinbrenner were still alive and in charge, there would be hell to pay. The GM and the Manager might be gone. Steinbrenner would have made sure by now Verlander and Cole were Yankees.

Let’s remember this — George Steinbrenner was HATED by Yankee fans in 80’s. You assume everyone knows that but some Yankee fans are young.

George was insane, changing the team entirely every year. The 1980’s yielded 0 titles. Yankee fans were rooting for his shipbuilding business to go bankrupt (as rumors in the mid 80’s said it would) so he’d be forced to sell the team. It was only George’s premature alzeheimers when he came back from his second suspension from MLB in the early 90’s that allowed ‘baseball people’ to run Yanks to titles w George’s money. Otherwise, it is speculated that Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte and all the young core would have been traded.

Not Enough Starters/Overusing the Bullpen

In an article in The Athletic the day after the game, writer Marc Carig quoted several Yankee relievers saying they were running on fumes:

  • Chad Green: “There’s only so many things that we can do. It makes us try to be too perfect. You can kind of get yourself into trouble the more you face guys.”
  •  Zach Britton: “I think everyone was running on fumes there at the end. The more you face guys, obviously, as relievers, you get uber-exposed. It’s the one thing I always say: That’s why we’re relievers, not starters. You overexpose guys, it’s inevitable that eventually, they’re going to get got a little bit. I still think starting pitching is what’s going to get you a World Series championship at the end of the day.”
  • The Athletic’s Marc Carig wrote, “Though (Kahnle) insisted he did not feel fatigued — despite pitching for a third consecutive game — he told teammates he was ‘pretty gassed’.”

Interesting quotes — although we don’t know how the questions were phrased — which is very important. For example, the part on Kahnle above shows some evidence the reporter had a biased angle in writing his piece. I mean Kahnle INSISTED he did not feel fatigued, yet the reporter laid down a hearsay comment that he was.

The Real Culprit

The real culprit as we’ve mentioned in other articles is the fact that there are 30 teams, and 10 teams make the playoffs, so the odds of any team winning are essentially 10-1 — or 8-1 if you don’t have to play the wild card. Any good team can beat any great team in a short series in baseball — so much depends on how your pitchers do, who is healthy & who’s not, how the ball bounces, etc — hundreds of variables.

10-1 odds mean you could make the playoffs every year for 25 years and not win the World Series, then win 3 in 5 years and you’re right on schedule. As Brian Cashman has said, the goal of a GM is to get the team into the playoffs, and “roll the dice.”

Unfortunately at some point your fan base will think you have a team of chokers. Like Atlanta did when they made the playoffs 12 straight years in the 1990’s/2000’s and only won 1 title — and fans stopped going to games.

That’s baseball, Suzyn.

In the End — the Yanks Had a Great Season

Before we tear apart this team and rebuild, and demand the firing of Brian Cashman — let’s remember:

  • NY was 4 runs away from World Series.
  • If they had gotten one more stinking run in game 2,
  • If Didi hits that ball a millimeter different in game 3 he beats Gerrit Cole – they’d have been up 3-0 & won series in Game 5.
  • They beat Verlander.
  • They didn’t have German.
  • James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino pretty much matched the vaunted Houston pitching of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Zack Greinke.
  • Gleyber Torres was a hitting star.
  • Gio Urshela played the ALCS like Graig Nettles defensively.
  • Aaron Judge played like Superman in the field, and got many big hits and walks against a tough Houston pitching staff.
  • The Yankee Bullpen for the most part did a Great job.
  • Aaron Hicks was a Tough at bat throughout the playoffs.
  • Brett Gardner got big hits and walks and played his usual stellar defense in the outfield throughout the playoffs.
  • Cameron Maybin did a terrific job in the field, the plate, and the bases as a reserve in the playoffs.
  • DJ LeMahieu = MVP.

It was a Marathon season; the playoffs = roll the dice. The Yankees were one of the 3 last teams playing. And so we put 2019 to bed — and all the fun that was had watching games, going to games, and interacting with fans on Yankee Twitter, and prepare for the Hot Stove League and 2020.

3 Comments

  1. George Steinbrenner’s suspension in the early 1990s wasn’t due to the onset of early Alzheimers. He was suspended by the Commissioner for trying to dig up dirt on his star outfielder Dave Winfield by enlisting the aid of a two-bit gambler. His hands-off penalty gave Gene Michael more than 2 years’ time to put together talent and promote (i.e., the Core Four) what became the most recent Yankees dynasty. Alzheimers struck him years later.

    • Thank you for commenting. I know that is what is generally reported, but I noticed something different when Steinbrenner returned to the Yankees in the early 90’s — he was calmned down — a different guy than the mercurial crazy man of the 1970’s and 1980’s. He allowed baseball people to run things. That was not the same Steinbrenner. It is my suspicion that the alzeheimers — or whatever it was –that presented itself to the public in the early 2000’s was already at work. Either that or he was heavily medicated.

  2. Ottavino and Gardner were both terrible. Ottavino got lit up to the tune of an 11.57 ERA and Gardner batted .136 with 1 run scored and 1 RBI and Zero steals.

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