Almost

When I get some distance from the Yankees’ loss to the Astros in the ALCS and have a chance to reflect on the season, I will remember it pretty damn fondly. The Yankees led in their division for most of the season. True to their nickname, they hit more home runs than ever in their franchise’s long, storied history. They had player after player step up after player after player fell to injury. But the one word that will stick out to me, even far from the sullen glow of this loss, will be “almost.”

The Yankees almost won Game 2. The Yankees almost got to Gerrit Cole. The Yankees almost stayed alive in Game 6. Almost.

For most of this series after Game 1, when it mattered most, the Yankees only almost came through. That doesn’t work in the playoffs against any team, let alone the Houston Astros.

I lost count of how many times I remarked on a player just missing his pitch to hit. I lost count of how many at bats with runners on ended in disappointment. I lost count of how many times the Yankees almost took control of this series and then just didn’t.

A playoff series loss is frustrating enough. That frustration compounds when there were seemingly so many opportunities to make it a series win.

Logically, rationally, intellectually, the Yankees had a fantastic season in 2019. They won over 100 games while getting basically nothing from Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, and Giancarlo Stanton. They set a team record for home runs with Gio Urshela and Mike Tauchman getting serious playing time.

But emotionally, viscerally, this feels crushing in this moment. Because there were so many times in the last week when the tide almost turned. And there are few things worse in baseball than “almost.”

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9 Comments

  1. D.B.

    Hey 314 staff, what kind of offseason coverage can we look forward to?

  2. RetroRob

    In 2019, were the Yankees the best team in the AL? No. The Astros were. They were at the start of the season, they were in the middle of the season, they were at the end of the season. The Yankees lost to the better team. In 2018, were the Yankees the best team in the AL? No. The Red Sox were. They were at the start of the season, they were in the middle of the season, they were at the end of the season. The Yankees lost to the better team…both years. The team they lost to this year will likely end up winning the World Series three straight years. Maybe the Yankees have been the second best all three seasons. That’s a problem.

    My point is not to congratulate the better team, or to give an excuse for their loss. My point is the Yankees need to be the best team. They haven’t been. They need to strengthen the starting rotation. Cole is the obvious answer. I have no idea, though, what they’ll do.

  3. MaryAnn Slater

    I concur. Not a failure. They have come so close, and this is with at least 30 injuries.

    Tauchman, Ford, Maybin, Wade, Urshella, they all did their part. Not to forget our primary players Judge, Didi, Torres, DJ and on and on… Unfortunately Voit was not on roster because of his injuries, but Hicks came through. Ottavino, Britton, Green, they all did their part and yes, although Chapman allowed a HR, but he’s only human and saved most of our games. You HAVE got to give our team praise for getting as close as they have. Sorry, but I don’t see that as a failure.

  4. Diane

    Such a heartbreaking loss, but undoubtedly an amazing season!

  5. dasit

    baseball is brutal
    if didi hits the ball 10 feet further…

  6. Brian M

    First goal for off-season: hire new training staff

  7. The loss that ends the season is always crushing. My experience has been that after you go through it a few dozen times, it is less impactful. But still no fun.

    • RetroRob

      A loss like last night’s would have crushed me when I was a kid. In my 50s, I shook my head, and immediately started thinking about what they can do in the off season and 2020.

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