The massively disappointing season is over — ending with a thud as Michael King surrendered 3 homeruns in 4 innings, and the Yanks lost 5-2 to the Royals in Kansas City on a Sunday afternoon.
NY lost 3 of its last 4, including 2 of 3 to the last place Royals, to finish 82-80 — although the Yanks were 20-12 since August 28. It was New York’s 31st consecutive winning season but so what.
The Yankees looked like they were going to romp, loading the bases with nobody out in the 1st inning against Zack Greinke, who came in 1-15 5.18 — but didn’t score and the game turned.
Austin Wells got 3 hits, including 2 doubles — a highlight of the game and of September for the Yanks. He looks like he is going to be Good.
“We need to be playing this time of year,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “But take a little bit of solace in just how these guys continued to show up, continued to prepare, continued to compete all the way to the end and played well down the stretch when it wasn’t necessarily an easy thing to do. But ultimately we need to be playing this time of year.”
1. Greinke Great
After that Greinke settled down, retiring the side in order in the 2nd, and pitching a shutout 3rd.
Sadly, the next time Kyle Higashioka came up — in the 4th with 1 out and nobody on — he doubled. But Greinke got the next 2 outs. By that time it was 2-0 KC.
Greinke pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th before walking DJ LeMahieu to lead off the 6th and he was gone at 70 pitches. He got a standing ovation as he left the mound. He would win to go 2-15 5.06.
2. King Not So Great
Meanwhile Michael King was not so great.
One of the nice developments of the end of the season was Michael King becoming a starter again, and looking like he could become an elite starter, as David Cone mentioned on the broadcast.
But King’s season ended with a thud too as he allowed 3 homers and 4 runs in 4 innings.
King was pulled after 4 innings for Jhony Brito. King got the loss to go 4-8 2.75. Coming in his ERA was 2.50, the lowest ERA amongst anyone in the AL with 100 or more innings. But he finishes behind Gerrit Cole, who had a 2.63 in a lot more innings (209).
Regardless of the poor final start, King’s showing at the end of the season is regarded as a major positive development. Afterwards, manager Aaron Boone said King would be in the starting rotation next year.
“He said, hey — you had a good season — you’re done,” said King about what Boone told him when he relieved him from the game. “And then it was, (words to the effect of ) ‘proud of me’ so it was good to hear.”
3. Brito Good
Jhony Brito started the 5th and was immediately hit too — Bobby Witt Jr led off with a triple, and scored on a sac fly by Salvador Perez to make it 5-0 KC. Brito then allowed an infield single before getting the last 2 batters to end the inning.
In the 6th Brito allowed a leadoff single to Blanco, struck out Nick Pratto, then threw badly on a pickoff attempt of Blanco — sending him to 3rd base with 1 out. But Brito struck out the next 2 batters to end the inning.
Brito pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th with 2 strikeouts. He ended with 6 K’s in 3 innings.
Brito’s final slash line was 9-7 4.28. He was one of the bright spots for NY.
4. Yanks Rally
The Yanks got their runs in the top of the 6th. After Greinke walked LeMahieu to lead off the inning, he was relieved by Taylor Clarke, who got Anthony Volpe to fly out, but then Austin Wells got his 2nd hit on the day with a double to center.
Kyle Higashioka came up with 2nd and 3rd, 1 out — and like the 1st inning he killed the rally with a shallow fly out to the shortstop to not score the run.
But Isiah Kiner-Falefa ripped a single to left to score 2 runs and make it KC 5 NY 2.
It was the 5th clutch 2-out RBI hit by the Yankees in the last 2 games — NY having had 4 the previous night.
5. Weissert Good
Greg Weissert pitched a shutout 8th, walking one. He looked pretty good late in the year. The ace reliever for Scranton last year, Weissert finished this year in NY with a 4.06 ERA and 22 K’s in 20 innings.
6. Wells 3 Hits
Austin Wells ripped a 1-out double down 3rd in the 8th off James McArthur. It was his 3rd hit in the game. Suzyn Waldman noted on the broadcast that nobody was playing 3rd, and Wells obviously hit it where they weren’t.
Wells came into the day slashing 4-13-.197 (.229 OBP) and after going 3 for 4 today ended the season at: 4-13-.229 (.257 OBP).
7. The Old Ballgame
That was the last hit of the game for NY — as McArthur retired the next 2 batters to end the 8th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th for the old ballgame, and season.