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  • Tim Kabel

About the Playoffs: Yankees Blanked by the Astros 5-0

By Tim Kabel

October 23, 2022

***

Turn off the lights; the party's over. The Yankees came into last night's game trailing Houston two games to none in the series. The Yankees absolutely, positively had to win. They didn't.


The Yankees barely showed up. They were outclassed by the Astros in every aspect of the game, and they are on the verge of being swept. I know that mathematically it's possible they could win the series. It has been done. (It has only been done once but, it has been done.)

Trust me on this one; it won't happen this time. There is a better chance that two supermodels will get in a fist fight in front of my house over the right to take me to the movies than there is that the Yankees will win this series. Translation: there is absolutely no chance. As my friend Brian observed, soon it will be time to tell the Yankees manager Boone Voyage.


Quick Stats:

  • Giancarlo Stanton played leftfield at Yankee Stadium for the first time since October 5, 2019, against the Twins.

  • Last night, The Yankees started their third different shortstop and third different leadoff hitter in the third game of the series.

  • Yankees' batters have struck out 41 times in three games.

  • Matt Carpenter struck out in each of his first eight at-bats in the series, which is a major league record.

  • On yesterday's date in 1996, David Cone controlled the Braves, and Bernie Williams drove in three runs as the Yankees won the third game of the World Series 5-2.

The Big Story:

The Yankees' offense was inept and overmatched. They were not able to do anything with Astros' pitcher Christian Javier. The Yankees couldn't hit the relief pitchers, either. Gerrit Cole reverted to his proclivity for allowing external factors to adversely affect him. He had shown mental toughness in the series against Cleveland but last night, he did not. In the second inning, Aaron Judge inexplicably cut in front of Harrison Bader, causing the poor man to think he was about to be run over by a freight train. As a result, Bader dropped the ball, and Christian Vasquez reached base. Cole crumpled like a wet cardboard suitcase, immediately giving up a home run to Chas McCormick, who I assume is a spicy fellow.


Cole wilted again in the sixth inning and left with the bases loaded and nobody out. Michael Kay and Cole blasted Boone for taking Cole out at that point but, I didn't have a problem with it. Cole had not demonstrated sufficient mental toughness to be trusted in that situation. This time, Lou Trivino gave up the runs instead of Cole. What difference does it make, really? The larger issue is that next season, Cole needs to be tougher. Again, quoting my friend Brian, often times, Cole is about as soft as yellow cake left out in the sun. He isn't always like that and has demonstrated the ability to move past minor setbacks occasionally. He needs to do that consistently next season. (I am not laboring under the misconception that he will pitch again this year.)


The Yankees have been streaky all season and prone to extended periods of hibernation by the entire lineup. The only exception to this had been Aaron Judge but, he is struggling now too. For long stretches of the season, he carried the team. He's not able to do it at this point. The only question that remains is which game will end the Yankees' season.


Players of the Game:

Paul Olden was wonderful Introducing the teams before the game.


Notable Performances:

Hideki Matsui did a fine job throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.


Better to Forget:

Everything that happened after the introduction of the teams and the ceremonial first pitch. I wish there really were aliens so they could use their mind erasing technology to expunge all the images of tonight's debacle from my memory.


My Take:

There really isn't a lot to say about last night's game. Once again, Boone made baffling decisions in his lineup selection and during the game. I assumed that after Thursday's game, Oswald Peraza would start at shortstop for the rest of the postseason. I forgot Felix Unger's warning regarding assumptions. I don't have a problem with Oswaldo Cabrera playing shortstop, but I think there were other positions he could have played. I still think it's risky to put Stanton in the outfield at this stage of the season. As noted above, he hadn't played left field in Yankee Stadium for three years. Stanton played the field so Matt Carpenter could be the DH. Carpenter is still struggling to regain his timing. He finally had a hit in the ninth inning but, it was too little, too late. An even better choice would have been to bench Josh Donaldson, and have Cabrera play third base. Boone seemed aghast at that suggestion prior to the game. He was amazed that someone would even ask him about it. That speaks to the larger issue.


We have all often heard that sports teams frequently take on the personality of their manager or coach. I believe that's the case with the Yankees. The team is wildly inconsistent and often does not seem to have any clear direction or focus. Well, you don't have to look any further than the manager's office to figure out why. In the second game of this series, Boone batted Harrison Bader in the leadoff spot. He did well. Last night, he was bumped down to the sixth spot. He had a hit and a walk. He was replaced in the leadoff spot by Anthony Rizzo, who had no hits but one walk. Sometimes, it seems as if Boone is blindfolded and throws darts at a list of names to determine his batting order. He is unable to clearly articulate why he does what he does. So, is it any wonder that the team is streaky and unpredictable?


It is now just a matter of time before the Yankees are eliminated. I'm certain that Nestor Cortes will go out tonight and do his absolute best to win the game. The Yankees may actually win, but we all know they won't win four in a row against Houston. I have to believe we are witnessing the end of the Boone error. He has had five years of futility. There are people who like to say that he has a remarkable winning percentage that is only equaled in Yankees' history by Casey Stengel and Joe Torre. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, Aaron Boone is no Casey Stengel or Joe Torre.


There was an article on Twitter in New York Porch Sports that quoted Aaron Boone as saying he did not consider game four in the series to be a must win. I had to read it four times before I realized it was a joke. That actually is something Boone may have said. I will allow the season to officially end before I launch into a full tirade regarding the future of the team and the manager. However, as I write this, I imagine Hal Steinbrenner singing, "I'm gonna wash that Boone right out of my hair." I'm not sure why I imagine the owner of the Yankee singing parodies of show tunes. It's probably the result of listening to John Sterling too frequently.


As this is most likely my final game recap of the season, I would like to take a moment to thank Dr. Semendinger, and the rest of the SSTN staff, and especially the readers for putting up with me for another season. I truly enjoyed it and I hope I made the recaps entertaining and thought provoking for the readers.


Next Up:

Tonight, the Yankees play the fourth game in the ALCS against the Astros at Yankee Stadium at 7:07 PM. Nestor Cortes Jr. will face Lance McCullers Jr. for Houston. It is an elimination game for the Yankees, unless you ask Boone.

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