LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Blow Game In Boston: Could Be Fatal Blow To Season

Friday, September 16, 2016

Yankees Blow Game In Boston: Could Be Fatal Blow To Season

The August and September surge has brought the Yankees into a race nobody expected. Even with losing the final game of the Tampa Bay series and losing two of three from the Dodgers this week, the Yankees remained within striking distance in both the AL East race and the AL Wild Card, as they started their road trip following Wednesday's loss to the Dodgers.  

The Yankees opened their 11 game three city road trip last night in Boston.(For the record the Yankees are 8-19 on the road in the four cities of the AL East, though they have finished their road games at Baltimore.)

In the first of those eleven games, the Yankees had ace Masahiro Tanaka on the mound and newly signed veteran Billy Butler as the designated hitter.  Tanaka was dominant through seven innings, lowering his season ERA to 2.97, even while not striking out a single Red  Sox hitter. Adam Warren allowed an 8th inning home run to, who else, David Ortiz. Then Dellin Betances came on for the ninth inning and everything blew up. The Yankees lost 7-5 thanks to a five run ninth inning Sox outburst. It led to a now five game deficit in the AL East and a three game one in the race for the second Wild Card.

The Yankees have now lost four of five on the heels of a season high seven game winning streak. The road record against the beasts of the east drops to 8-20. Combine that with a poor 8-12 showing in interleague play and the season might have been lost in four eastern cities and in play against the other league to the tune of 16-32. Overall the Yankees are 77-69. (For what it's worth, despite the poor showing verses the NL teams this year, the Yankees are  the all time  leaders in winning percentage in interleague play since its 1997 inception.)

You have to win in your own division if you want to contend. Yes, there are sixteen games remaining and the Yankees are still alive. But games like this with your ace on the mound are killers. Tanaka deserved a better fate and will not pitch again until September 21st in Tampa Bay.  At most, Tanaka will get only three more starts in 2016. You simply cannot squander a start like Thursday night's and expect the season to turn back in your favor.

The Yankees are still in the race, but have never been in the driver's seat. They have lived on the fringes of the race for weeks. And with sixteen games left, another major push will be needed to claim a playoff spot. Do the Yankees have that last playoff push in them? Eight and twenty in the very cities they will be visiting in the next ten games suggests no. Thursday's debacle definitely says no.  Perhaps if they find a way to reel off another seven game winning streak, they might pull off the impossible. But it's highly unlikely.

No matter what happens in these final 16 games, just be grateful for the amazing run from the trade deadline until now. Don't forget, the Yankees were made lame ducks by their own management, but the players wouldn't lay down, and closed the gap in the races after August 1st.  That could be a precursor of good things to come as soon as next season.

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