2019 Season – Post Mortem
The Yankees season ended last night as the Astros won the game and the American League Championship Series. There were a few moments when the Yankees seemed poised to win the series. The Yankees jumped out by winning Game One in Houston. At that point, all looked well. It wasn’t to be. The Yankees then lost the next three games to stand on the brink of elimination. Facing this elimination, they were able to win Game Five, and they played hard in Game Six, even tying the game in the ninth inning…only to fall short. It was close, but the Astros prevailed. They were the better team.
Because the Yankees are very good, the Astros didn’t beat them by much. But beat them they did. The Astros played better defense. They had more clutch hits. Their starting pitching was just a bit better and so was their bullpen. I also think they were better managed. Aaron Boone didn’t do a terrible job managing, but A.J. Hinch was better. In every aspect of the game, the Astros were just a little bit better. That was all they needed to be.
In last night’s game, there were a few turning points that set the stage for the loss. Later today (at 1:00 p.m.) we will post my in-game perspectives of Game Six last night. Readers can read my thoughts as the game progressed. They can see where I feel the Yankees were out-played and out-managed. In the end, at least in my perspective, they were where they needed to be…Aroldis Chapman was on the mound, the game was tied, hope was on the horizon. It just wasn’t to be…
One of the reasons the Yankees fell short is the fact that the Astros are the better team fundamentally. Time and time again, the Astros made the plays in the field. (The Yankees didn’t always do that.) On occasion, the Astros also made some spectacular plays – game changing plays that made the difference.
Again, the Yankees are a great team. The fact is, the Astros are better. They may only be slightly better, but, just like in 2017, they are better. For the Yankees to have won this series, they would have had to have played almost perfect baseball. It was possible, the chances were there, they just couldn’t do it.
It stings to come so close again, only to fall short.
I also think the Astros were better managed throughout the series. Aaron Boone did a great job during the regular season and in the ALDS. He didn’t do as well in the ALCS. As a manager he grew a lot this year, but in the biggest games, he showed that he still some learning to do. One of the criticisms of Joe Girardi was that he managed too much by his “binder.” It seems Boone did that as well. Too many of Aaron Boone’s in-game decision were based on formulas and stats that seemed to dictate what to do ahead of time rather than managing the actual game situations as they occurred. I feel that Aaron Boone’s bullpen usages was one such example of this.
All that being said, Aaron Boone showed throughout the season that he is the right guy to manage this team. He kept the team together when it should have fallen apart. He kept the
players focused and hungry. He stood up when he needed to. He showed fire and passion. I believe he was the Manager of the Year. He also showed that he is continually learning and continually growing. I look forward to seeing him being an even better manager in 2020. There’s a lot to look forward to next year.
The Yankees, who overcame injuries all season long, were also felled by the fact that they were not at full health for this series. It took approximately 171 games, but the injuries that continually hit the Yankees finally hurt them too much in this series. The Yankees were probably healthy enough to defeat any other American League team in a seven game series. They just weren’t healthy enough to defeat the Astros. The Yankees kept hoping that Giancarlo Stanton would be able to perform. He wasn’t. But, since they didn’t put him on the injured list, the Yankees played a man short all series. Because of this, they were forced to play Edwin Encarnacion as the designated hitter in five of the six games. Encarnacion, himself, didn’t seem 100% healthy. By keeping Giancarlo Stanton on the roster, the Yankees weren’t able to play a different player, be it Luke Voit, Mike Ford, or whomever. Again, it was the little things that made the difference. Playing one player fewer was one of the little factors that made a difference nd led to the Yankees losing the series.
The Yankees played their hearts out. They did last night…they did all season long.
The Yankees have a lot to be proud of. It was a great season. There is no shame, as much as it hurts, and as sad as it is, to lose to the Astros. The Astros are a great team. They were the better team all year and they were the better team in this series.
I just can’t help but think that if the Yankees had acquired just one great starting pitcher over the last few years, just one even, that the final results would have been different this year and maybe in the last few years as well. The Yankees need a great starting pitcher. (They need at least one. I think they need two aces to top their rotation.) I hope the Yankees management recognizes this fact. The Yankees’ approach of saving money by not investing in the big time starter hasn’t worked these last few years. The fact remains that the Yankees haven’t seen the World Series since 2009. Remember, that was also the season that they did spend big. 2009 was a long time ago. In “Yankee Years,” it’s an eternity. The Yankees always have the financial resources to acquire any player, or any players, they want or need. I hope they take that fact to heart this off-season.
The 2017-2019 teams that have been built by the Yankees management have been great teams. The Yankees have won 100 or more games two years in a row. In the regular season, the Yankees have the talent and the depth to defeat almost every other team. They are very very good – great, in fact. But, as constructed, they are just not good enough to beat the very best teams in the playoffs – like the Astros in 2017 and 2019 and the Red Sox in 2018. It is my feeling that the biggest thing they are lacking is starting pitching – great starting pitching. Again, I hope that changes this winter.
The game of baseball can rip out your heart. That’s what happened last night. Oh it hurt. A lot. To come that close only to lose…
It really hurts.
And it’s very sad, sad in only the way a fan knows, as he (or she) watches their team lose for the last time and as they, so quickly and immediately, face a long, sad, and lonely winter.
I hate watching the Yankees lose. I hate when the season ends. I thirst for a World Championship. I can’t wait for next year.
I miss the Yankees already.
Is it springtime yet?
Please note – we will be here all winter long with daily articles, updates, and all the Yankees news as it comes down. Thanks for sharing the 2019 season with us. It was a great ride. It ended the wrong way, but boy-oh-boy was it a great ride.
I sincerely appreciate that you took this ride with us and I hope your share your thoughts and ideas as we all watch what the Yankees do to try to build the team that will win the 2020 World Series this winter.
Let’s Go Yankees