Yankees, Cole, MLB Playoffs, postseason roster, New York Yankees

Yankees’ season-ending sweep and what’s next

The Yankees’ season-ending sweep to nemesis, the Houston Astros, has crushed the souls of fans and has left us all with so many questions about the future from potential staffing moves to free agents and offseason trades. Let’s dive in to the ALCS, dissect the laundry list of things that went wrong, discuss who’s to blame, and wrap with initial speculations of what’s to come.

Dead Bats

With the exception of Harrison Bader (CF) and Giancarlo Stanton (DH and LF), there was no sign of life in the Yankees’ bats in the first three of four games. In one hundred thirty at-bats throughout the series, the Yankees scrounged up twenty-one total hits, fifty total strikeouts, and nine total runs. This means that nearly thirty-nine percent of their at-bats resulted in a strikeout. Ten of those twenty-one hits came from the bats of Bader and Stanton.

The team earned the second worst batting average in the postseason at .173, with just the Rays beneath them. The Rays only played two games. The American League single-season homerun record holder, Aaron Judge (RF), accounted for fifteen of those fifty strikeouts, with just Josh Donaldson doing worse damage at sixteen total strikeouts.

How is this the 2022 MLB leader in HR, R, OBP, SLG, and OPS? How could things have gone so far south? Is the AL single-season homerun record chase to blame? How do you not wake up for the division championship?

Lineup Inconsistencies

There was no consistency in the lineup this postseason. The Yankees used three different leadoff hitters in four games. How do you prepare yourself from one game to the next when you’re batting ninth and leading off from one night to the next? Most teams will have two lineups: one that they use against left-handed pitchers and one that they use against right-handed pitchers. In my opinion, the team couldn’t get in a groove, and it was embarrassingly obvious.

Costly Errors

There were so many fielding errors, that with basic baseball fundamentals, were entirely avoidable. During the second inning of the third game, Gerrit Cole was one strike away from another scoreless inning when Aaron Judge collided with Harrison Bader on what should have been a third-out flyout to right. Instead, the Astros put Christian Vasquez (C) on and Chas McCormick (CF) knocked out a two-run homerun to give the Astros the early lead. Bader earned the error, but that is the centerfielder’s ball.

In game four, what should have been a routine double play to send the Yankees into the bottom of the seventh inning with a one-run lead looked more like the demise of their 2022 season. Gleyber Torres (2B) turned two with a rushed flip that grazed the glove of Isaiah Kiner-Falefa (SS) right into shallow left field. Of course, the Astros took advantage of the clanger when Yordan Alvarez (LF) ripped an RBI single to send Jose Altuve (2B) home and tie the game.


While the offense couldn’t string anything together, Manager Aaron Boone’s questionable bullpen decisions weren’t doing the bombers any favors. The Yankees’ four-starter Jameson Taillon gave up just one run in 4 1/3 innings pitched in game one when he was replaced by Clarke Schmidt who dealt the game winning single in game three of the ALDS against the Cleveland Guardians. Again, Schmidt gave up a two-run homerun to Yuli Gurriel (1B) to stretch the Astros lead from 2-1 to 3-1.

In game three, Boone didn’t allow the Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole to work his way out of a bases-loaded situation. He called in Lou Trivino in his stead who gave up a blooper to center to put the Astros up 5-0.

Boone is now 14-17 in the postseason since he took the reins in 2018.

What’s Next

The Yankees have not advanced to the World Series since 2009 and they have been eliminated from their last five ALCS appearances. We all know George Steinbrenner, aka “The Boss”, would not have put up with this, but who is to blame?

Fans are calling for GM Brian Cashman and Manager Aaron Boone’s jobs, but current owner Hal Steinbrenner confirmed that Boone is here to stay.

Steinbrenner told the Associated Press, "As far as Boone’s concerned, we just signed him and for all the same reasons I listed a year ago, I believe he is a very good manager. I don’t see a change there.” Boone has just completed the first year of a three-year contract with a club option for 2025.

As far as the bombers go, Aaron Judge (RF) has become a free agent, and will undoubtedly receive several competitive offers. Anthony Rizzo (1B) is reportedly expected to enter an early free agency on the player option. Joining them in free agency are Andrew Benintendi (LF), Zack Britton (LHP), Matt Carpenter (DH), Miguel Castro (RHP), Aroldis Chapman (LHP), Marwin Gonzalez (UTL), Chad Green (RHP), Luis Severino (RHP, clup option), and Jameson Taillon (RHP).

There are some big names dropping in the 2023 free agency market, but are the Yankees ready to clean house, dig into their pockets, and finally put together a team worthy of competing in the postseason? Or are they so hyper focused on securing a deal with Judge that there will be missed opportunities? The Yankees have big decisions to make about the roster in the 2023 offseason, especially the decision on Judge.

For now, we can take solace in the fact that Aaron Judge has been vocal about his desire to be a Yankee for life.

In a Fanatics Live after last season, he remarked, "To be honest, there's no better place to play. No other place I would really ever want to play, just based on how the fans have embraced me, how they brought me in and treated me as one of their own. It's incredible, getting a chance to play at Yankee Stadium. That place, every night being basically sold out. The fans always having your back. It's a dream come true. That would be a wish of mine, a goal of mine, to finish my career as a Yankee, but you never know what the cards hold. But, if it was up to me, I would be a Yankee for the next 10 years, for sure.”

Jonna M. Perlinger