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Yankees GBU – Three reasons why they lost

The New York Yankees are dead and they have no one to blame but themselves. It’s been mentioned many times before, but they could have easily won this series and chose not to. Jose Altuve’s walk-off two run homer to end the Yankees’ season was a microcosm of everything that went wrong in the ALCS.

Instead of doing a typical GBU, we can break down three reasons why they lost. The three reasons are simple and the exact opposite of what they needed to do to win the series. The Astros are obviously an extremely talented team, but these losses are on the Yankees.

The most frustrating part of it all is that even though the Yankees lost in six games, they were the better team for most of the series. The Astros were somehow even worse with RISP, but got the timely hits when they really needed to. The Yankees did not, and their season is now over because of it.

They got zero production from three of their big guns

It’s a tale as old as time. You could see it coming from a mile away that some of the Yankees’ bats would go ice cold when the Yankees needed it most. The combination of Giancarlo Stanton, Edwin Encarnacion and Gary Sanchez was atrocious in the ALCS.

It doesn’t matter that Sanchez hit a two-run home run or Encarnacion had a big double in Game Three, they didn’t come up with hits when it mattered and quite honestly embarrassed the rest of the team with some of their at-bats. In 31 at-bats, Sanchez struck out 16 times. He struck out more times than not, in a playoff series, that determined whether or not they would go to the World Series.

Encarnacion looked lost at the plate and didn’t seem to really care. His absence in favor of Giancarlo Stanton didn’t mean anything because Stanton didn’t do much either. How can a team with so many sluggers be so objectively bad for an entire series? Some will say it’s because the Astros have superior pitching, but it’s more a problem that’s been plaguing the Yankees for three years now.

They didn’t get hits when it mattered

The theme of untimely hitting can be coupled with the cold streak of the three aforementioned sluggers. The amount of times the Yankees had RISP or the bases loaded and only squeezed one run out of it was alarming. Once again, credit to the Astros’ pitching for getting them out of those jams, but at what point is it on the offense to pull through in at least one of those situations?

In addition to the Yankees not getting hits when it mattered, the Astros did get hits when it mattered. Notice that the Astros were almost more home run happy than the Yankees, and even though Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve walked the Yankees off twice, almost every other Astros home run was important as well.

Aaron Hicks, D.J. Lemahieu and Gleyber Torres get a pass. Gleyber carried the team in Game One, Hicks smashed one off the foul pole in Game Five and Lemahieu almost single-handedly brought the Yankees back from the dead with a tying Game Six home run.

For the rest of the team, shame on you. Aaron Judge was fine but was a strikeout machine. The other big three were god awful. Brett Gardner only had three hits in the entire series. Gio Urshela was actually decent for a nine-hitter. It just wasn’t enough and it’s a shame that the Yankees beat themselves because of it.

Their game plan failed

The Yankees’ game plan going into the ALCS was two fold; Get strong starting pitching for five or so innings and get to the bullpen, and make sure to work counts to get the Astros’ elite starters out of there.

The starting pitching was fine. In all honesty, it was better than anyone expected as James Paxton pitched his tail off and made himself a staple in the Yankees’ rotation with a gutsy six-inning performance. Masahiro Tanaka had a rare clunker but he is still nails in the postseason.

Unfortunately their plan didn’t work out throughout the series. They got the starting pitching but Adam Ottavino and Aroldis Chapman were nightmares. Ottavino had the longest streak of appearances without recording an out in MLB postseason history, and Chapman let Jose Altuve walk him off and end the season for the Yankees.

On the flip side, the Yankees had the Astros right where they wanted with their bullpen. They didn’t get shut out by Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander, and they actually got to Verlander in Game Five. However, once they got to the Astros’ bullpen they couldn’t capitalize.

With the series on the line they were only able to scrounge four runs off the middling Astros’ bullpen. They couldn’t really get to Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Roberto Osuna, etc. For a team that wanted to face the bullpen rather than starting pitching, they failed miserably.

The Yankee season is over and the three reasons mentioned before are why it’s over. The Yankees can build on this and put it in their pocket for next year, but at this point isn’t anything short of a World Series a failure?

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