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.”