LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Swept Out Of Boston As Playoff Bubble Bursts

Monday, September 19, 2016

Yankees Swept Out Of Boston As Playoff Bubble Bursts

I guess it's possible, somehow, that this four game series could have gone worse for the Yankees.  Anything, after all, is possible, but I feel safe in saying that the outcome of this series, a four game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, represented the worst possible outcome by a wide margin.

It started in great fashion on Thursday, with the Yankees handing their bullpen a three run lead heading into the bottom of the 9th inning in game one, only to watch them, primarily Dellin Betances, gave up 5 runs to hand Boston a walk off victory.

Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the story was much the same, with the Yankees scoring runs but, at no point, did it seem possible that the Yankees would win either of those games. It was a matter of if, not when, the lead would dissipate.

Then injuries to team RBI leader Starlin Castro and to Jacoby Ellsbury in Saturday’s game left the Yankees with a depleted lineup for the Sunday series finale, the ESPN Sunday Night game, adding insult to injury for Yankees fans everywhere.

Again the Yankees scored runs but hit or miss CC Sabathia just didn’t have it as he made it through just 5.0+ IP, throwing 110+ pitches, giving up four runs and committing a throwing error.  Ultimately the Yankees lost 5-4, with the deciding factor being, yet again, Hanley Ramirez.

It feels as if all the fight the Yankees showed in the weeks leading up to these final two weeks of the season seemed to just ebb out of them on that walk off home run on Thursday night. A bubble burst that night and it’s hard to see them coming back from that to make the playoffs.

It’s possible, of course, given who they play from here on out, but, with the injuries to Aaron Judge during the series against the Dodgers, and to Castro (possibly out for the remainder of the season) and to Ellsbury, the offense will, again, be a struggle. Gary Sanchez (3-for-5 on Sunday with another HR) can't do it all.

The starting pitching, with the exception of Masahiro Tanaka, is a coin flip most nights and the bullpen is, to put it nicely, a disaster. Yes, part of it is obviously exhaustion, but they are also just not very effective in general.

Even the addition of Billy Butler, this years “lightning in a bottle” candidate, can only do so much. The Yankees are now 8.0 GB in the American League and 3.5 games behind the second AL Wild Card (with Baltimore, Toronto, Detroit, Seattle and Houston ahead of them). Their most optimistic tragic number right now is 10 and that’s with 13 games to play.

If the Yankees only wanted to keep things interesting, they have unquestionably accomplished that. If they wanted to keep it promising then, well, not so much.

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