Thursday October 07, 2021
Yanks Bounced Early, Suck
Sad Yankee fan, 2021
In the wake of their 6-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox in the one-game AL Wild Card playoff, Yankee fans are wringing their hands and calling for heads—chiefly manager Aaron Boone, but also GM Brian Cashman, pitcher Gerrit Cole, who didn't get out of the third inning (and whom the New York Post called Gerrit Bleepin' Cole and the staid New York Times refered to as the team's “nominal” ace), and assorted cast and crew—but one thing you can say for Boone: this team did better than it should have. By Pythagorean standards, they should've gone 86-76 instead of 92-70. They actually had the lowest run differential of any AL postseason team (+42) and the second-lowest, to the Cardinals' +34, of any of the playoff teams. Not sure if beating the Pythagorean speaks to smart managerial moves or just luck, but this definitely ain't your great-grandfather's Murderers' Row.
You've got Aaron Judge, you've got Giancarlo Stanton sometimes. Both are .200/.300/.500 guys. The rest of the team? Most of the regulars were .200/.300/.300 this year. They're a dull three-outcome team: HR, BB, K. The Yanks were sixth in the Majors in HRs with 222; first in walks with 621; and sixth in strikeouts with 1,482. That's their game. Elsewhere, they ranked 23rd in team batting average, and a lot of that was just because of the dingers. If you break down the other hits, they ranked 20th in singles, 29th (to the Mariners) in triples, and, shockingly, dead last in doubles. The team they just lost to? The Red Sox? They finished first in doubles—clobbering 117 more than the Bronx Bombers.
I know: Fenway. But generally the BoSox were a way better hitting team, ranking third in BA, sixth in singles, twelfth in triples and tenth in homers. They had a balanced offense. They had more than three outcomes.
Me, I'm a huge fan of this outcome. Yes, I would've liked it more if the Yankees had missed the playoffs, or had a losing record, or, you know, gone 0-162; but I'll take it. The team's pennant drought now stands at 12 seasons, which ain't much for most teams, but is the second-longest pennant drought for the Yankees since the day they bought Babe Ruth in 1920. Only the shitty Steinbrenner years, 1982-1995, 14 seasons, eclipses it. Fun times. Take us out, Carey.